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Robert Schumann

Does it matter whether Robert Schumann suffered a slow, passive and continuous decline towards the madness of his last two years or, as John Worthen strongly affirms, a sudden descent into psychosis after a creative lifetime marked by personal resilience and determination? Many people would argue that it is particularly important in music not to let biography get in the way of hearing what the composer has created in sound, if for no other reason than that it could hinder music’s special freedom to mean quite different things to different listeners.

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