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Judith Chernaik

A groundbreaking account of Schumann, a major composer whose music is becoming increasingly popular over the years.

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SCHUMANN: THE FACES & THE MASKS is a groundbreaking account of a major composer whose life and works have been the subject of intense controversy ever since his attempted suicide and early death in an insane asylum. Schumann was a key figure in the Romantic movement which enraptured poets, musicians, painters and their audiences in the early 19th century and beyond, right up to the present time. He embodied all the contrasting themes of Romanticism – he was intensely original and imaginative, but also worshipped the past; he believed in political, personal and artistic freedom but insisted on the need for artistic form. He turned his tumultuous life into music that speaks directly to the heart. Drawing on hitherto unpublished archive material, Chernaik provides new insight into Schumann’s life and his music, his sexual escapades, his fathering of an illegitimate child, the true facts behind his courtship of Clara and the opposition of her monstrous father, and the ways in which the crises of his life fed into the dreams and fantasies of his greatest music.


Born in New York, Judith Chernaik now lives in London. She is best known for founding London’s popular Poems on the Underground, which offers poetry of all times and places to a mass audience, a programme which has taken off in cities worldwide.She is the co-editor of anthologies of Poems on the Underground and her other publications include The Lyrics…

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