One of the great composers of the 19th century, Schumann wrote piano solos, chamber music, choral pieces and opera, dozens of superb songs, and some of the finest works in the orchestral reperotry. Much of this music conveys contented and even joyful sentiments; there is surprisingly little darkness in Schumann's compositions. Yet from the beginning of his career, Schumann was plagued by irrational fears and melancholy. In the end, his personal demons overwhelmed him. In 1854 Schumann suffered a mental breakdown and made an apparent suicide attempt. Although his life was saved, his career as composer had reached its end. Already, however, his formidable creative energies had produced a remarkable body of music revealing a natural and lyrical sense of melody coupled with a keen and original handling of both harmony and compositional form. The Musically Speaking Conductor's Guides are your link to an appreciation of the greatest classical music ever performed. Let Maestro Gerard Schwarz enrich your classical music listening enjoyment by illuminating the great works of the Masters with revealing commentary and educational insight.