If you know anything about the life of composer Robert Schumann, then you know he had issues. Whatever serious infirmity caused him to suffer wild mood swings, hear voices in his head and eventually decant himself into the Rhine has been variouslyÂ (and posthumously) "diagnosed"Â asÂ manic-depressive disorder, syphilis, schizophrenia or all of the above, depending on the prevailing clinical zeitgeist and, shall we say,Â unique mood swingsÂ ofÂ each writer. Such problems are, of course,Â no laughing matter, especially when they send their victim to an early grave, literally and metaphorically speaking. Schumann was young enough when he met his end in an asylum outside Duesseldorff, but really the world had lostÂ him years before to the demons that had eroded his faculties. Sorry as this state mayÂ be, and one-dimensional as some ofÂ Schumann's belated diagnoses may seem, the composer's writings do give us a senseÂ thatÂ heÂ might have channeled some ofÂ his psychosis (if that's what it was)Â into hisÂ creative work. Two of the voices in his head, those of Florestan and Eusebius,Â led extracranial lives asÂ characters in Schumann's colorful music journalism, fomenting aesthetic discussons ofÂ equalÂ partsÂ erudition and whimsy. These characters also show up inÂ Schumann's beautiful, often quirky music, perhaps most notably in Carnaval where they rubÂ shouldersÂ with a crowd of oddballsÂ in Schumann's personal Commedia dell'Arte. This interweaving of Schumann'sÂ interior world withÂ the exterior world of his creative productsÂ leaves those of us whoÂ revere the composer's musicÂ with a, frankly, creepy question: would Schumann's music have the same lyric beauty and endearing eccentricities - in short, would his music be the same - had he not suffered lifelong from physical and/or mental illness? We'll never know, of course, andÂ some might argue (indeed, have argued convincingly) that such bio-hermeneutics only get us so far. Still, whatever it wasÂ that made Schumann's music oddÂ was alsoÂ one of the things thatÂ made it great.Â But before moving too far afield, I'd like toÂ define what I mean by Schumann's "music" in the first place. Schumann's music resides on a single continuum that runs from the deep interior to the blatantly exterior realms of the composer's world.Â We must think ofÂ his music in terms ofÂ that whichÂ does sound and that which does notÂ - or might not - sound butÂ is there nonetheless. The dots on the page are Schumann's music, and so are the lives of Florestan, Eusebius and the whole SchumannianÂ cast of characters,Â including those who might have made itÂ no farther into the worldÂ than a movement title listed on a concert program, andÂ whose privateÂ conversations with Schumann might have met their fate and washed away in the cold and watery Rhine. This imageÂ brings me to the new recording of Schumann's signature song cycle Dichterliebe by tenor Mark Padmore and fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout. In the abstract, recording a Romantic song cycle with a fortepiano instead of one of our modern-dayÂ keyboard behemoths is a great idea; even if the vocal performance practice might be less graspable,Â we canÂ perhapsÂ come closer toÂ a soundÂ Schumann might have recognized with a keyboard instrumentÂ more likeÂ the piano of his own day. But with all gain comes some loss, and the Padmore/Bezuidenhout Dichterliebe leaves me to wonder whether the use of the fortepiano, as intriguing and beautiful as it is, was too costly in other ways. For, while the fortepiano gives this Dichterliebe a sound we're not at all used to hearing in lieder recordings, it also does away with some aspects of Schumann's music that is there but not heard. And I mustÂ wonder whether any Schumann interpretation that however subtly and unwittingly neglects this aspect of Schumann's music reallyÂ understands the inward as well as the outward aspects of Schumann's music.