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John Worthen - Part Five

from A Robert Schumann Album by Various

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Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2010.

Schumann spent the last two years of his life in the mental asylum in Endenich. Biographer John Worthen reconsiders the facts about his long and final illness.

On February 27 1854 at the age of 43 Schumann attempted to drown himself in the river Rhine. He was taken to the mental asylum at Endenich near Bonn, where he spent the last 29 months of his life. Much has been written about the causes of his illness, but that information was able to be revisited in detail when the notes written by the doctors who cared for him came to light in the 1990's. John Worthen considers that through these notes new thoughts should be examined about the nature of the illness. Schumann had periods of illness throughout his marriage to Clara, and there are suggestions that this could have been caused by depression, nervous instability or syphilis. John Worthen reaches his own conclusion in this Essay, but feels that it's time the catch-all of mental instability was revised and a clearer analysis of both Schumann's health as well as illness was undertaken.


from A Robert Schumann Album, released January 5, 2011
Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2010

Written & Presented by John Worthen
Produced by Richard Bannerman

(c) A Ladbroke Productions Release


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