The Life of Robert Alexander Schumann.
"As if all mental pictures must be shaped to fit one or two forms! As if each idea did not come into existence with its form ready-made! As if each work of art had not its own meaning and consequently its own form!- (Schonberg,1970, p. 172).
--Robert Schumann in response to criticism for not writing orthodox sonatas.
One of the most productive composers of the period, Robert Schumann defined what it meant to be a Romantic composer. He always allowed himself to be moved by the moment, never giving in to rules of constraint which artists, certainly of the Classical period, and, even, some of his contemporaries, from whom comes his most violent criticism, resigned themselves to. He did not believe that a preexisting formula must be the only, or even the best, method of creation. He was an exceptionally brilliant man and that brilliance had been accentuated by a bountiful amount of education, being both self-taught, especially in his father's extensive library, and studying the brightest minds of his time. His father, Friedrich August Gottlob Schumann, although usually too busy running his self-started business to give intensive attention to young Robert, did take interest in the youngest of his five children as he realized that Robert was destined for an artistic career. He advised Robert to collect coins and learn modern languages (Schauffler, 1945, p. 8). Robert would spend endless hours in his father's library and even before the age of ten he had favorite authors, being Romantic artists themselves. August sent seven-year-old Robert for music lessons to an organist named Kuntsch, and, upon his son reaching a level of keyboarding above that of the teacher, the senior Schumann attempted to get .
Carl Maria von Weber to teach Robert, but the plans fell through. Although not a musician himself, August saw Robert's intense passion for it and even took Robert to see Ignaz Moscheles when he was nine years old.