Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 April 2011
[…] with your musical journals! It should be the highest endeavour of a just critic to render himself wholly unnecessary; the best discourse on music is silence. Why write about Chopin? Why not create at first hand—play, write, and compose?’ (‘Gesammelte Schriften,’ i. 276; Engl. trans, in ‘Music and Musicians,’ series i. p. 205.) True, this impassioned outburst has to be moderated by Eusebius. But consider the significance of Schumann's writing thus in his own journal about the critic's vocation! It plainly shows that he only took it up as an artist, and occasionally despised it. But with regard to Schumann's place in art, Mendelssohn did not, at that time at all events, consider it a very high one, and he was not alone in this opinion. It was shared, for example, by Spohr and Hauptmann. In Mendelssohn's published letters there is no verdict whatever on Schumann's music. The fact however remains that in Schumann's earlier pianoforte works he felt that the power or the desire for expression in the greater forms was wanting, and this he said in conversation. He soon had reason to change his opinion, and afterwards expressed warm interest in his friend's compositions. Whether he ever quite entered into the individualities of Schumann's music may well be doubted; their natures were too dissimilar.