Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law to return to music, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist in Europe, but a hand injury ended this dream. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing.
Schumann's published compositions were written exclusively for the piano until 1840; he later composed works for piano and orchestra; many Lieder; four symphonies; an opera; and other orchestral, choral, and chamber works. Works such as Kinderszenen, Album für die Jugend, Blumenstück, Sonatas and Albumblätter are among his most famous. His writings about music appeared mostly in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, a Leipzig-based publication which he jointly founded.
In 1840, against her father's wishes, Schumann married pianist Clara Wieck, daughter of his former teacher, the day before she legally came of age at 21. Had they waited one day, they would have no longer needed her father's consent, which had been the subject of a long and acrimonious legal battle, which found in favor of Clara and Robert. Clara also composed music and had a considerable concert career, the earnings from which formed a substantial part of her father's fortune.
People compose for many reasons: to become immortal; because the pianoforte happens to be open; because they want to become a millionaire; because of the praise of friends; because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes; for no reason whatsoever.