Classical Fact

Robert Schumann's father was a bookseller who encouraged his son's musical and literary talents. When is father died, his mother guided young Robert into the study of law, to which he devoted several uninspired years. He eventually turned his attention to the study of music with the idea of becoming a concert pianist, but Schumann had allegedly paralyzed one of his fingers while experimenting with strengthening exercises. Today, it's widely believed that the paralysis was caused by mercury-based medicine taken for syphilis. The aspiring virtuoso turned to composing and the writing of music reviews for his own publication in Leipzig, "The New Music Journal."