Let's not be naive about this. Jowly Robert Schumann with his hangdog eyes is never going to sell as many marzipan boxes as the Wolf Gang, nor does any of his music fall as easily on the ear as the Amadeus soundtrack or the special-offer i-Tunes site. Where Mozart mints money, Schumann hints at suicide.I wonder if this is a correct analysis. Maybe the market strategy for selling music to a mass audience can't count on success if the ads are centred on unpleasant facts in a composer's life - or his death. But, aren't celebrity scandals and unhappiness the very things that the public is interested in hearing more about? Are we admiring WAM today at the anniversary celebrating of his short life for the pleasantness of it - a short but happy and successful life in music - or are we secretly or openly admiring his dark sides, and are relieved that we are not sick and unhappy creative geniuses like WAM? Or, if I may introduce a little blasphemy: is he (and other "great artists", like Robert Schumann) worshipped as our musical saviour, who sacrificed himself?
Jessica Duchen has written an article in The Independent with some interesting new facts and opinions about Robert and Clara Schumann.