Schumann's biographer Eric Jensen shows how important the composer's pioneering musical criticism and journalism was to him and to his successors.
Schumann's family wanted him to become a lawyer. Schumann opposed them but he loved books, and wondered whether he might become a writer. At the age of 20 he made up his mind to be a musician, but his commitment to writing never left him. He co-founded the most influential music magazine of the time, the Neue Zeitschift Fur Musik, and became its owner and editor. In fact it paid him more than his compositions for the first 10 years of composing. His biographer Eric Jensen shows how his appraisal of his fellow composers paved the way for writing about music in a new and informed style, as well as painting a picture of musical developments in the mid-19th century. When his compositions began to find success he resigned from the magazine, but towards the end of his life he collected his best work to form a book of musical criticism, including his last piece about an unknown composer called Johannes Brahms. Schumann described him briefly and generously as ' a genius'.