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Franz Schubert (Composer)

Schubert, Franz (Seraph Peter) (b Vienna, 1797; d Vienna, 1828). Austrian composer. Son of impoverished schoolmaster, who was his first teacher. In 1808 admitted as boy sop. to imperial chapel, living in the Konvikt. Played vn. in sch. orch., for which he wrote his 1st Sym. (1813). Became pupil of Salieri for theory, 1812. Left Konvikt when v. broke 1813, and worked as ass. schoolmaster to father, but continued to compose prolifically. Frequently attended opera in Vienna and wrote his first opera, Des Teufels Lustschloss in 1814, the first of many stage works, none of which was successful. On 19 Oct. 1814 set Goethe‘s Gretchen am Spinnrade, his first masterpiece and the song that, it is inaccurately but understandably said, gave birth to the Lied. This released a flood of inspiration. In 1815 Schubert comp. 144 songs, incl. 8 in one day in Oct. In addition, comp. a sym., 2 Masses, and other works. Altogether wrote over 600 songs, of which about 200 are different settings of poems he had already set—he set some poems (particularly those by Goethe and Schiller) up to 6 times.

In 1817 he abandoned teaching and lived in Vienna with one or other of his friends, among whom the poet Mayrhofer was the closest. They talked, drank, discussed the questions of the day, and made mus. in coffee-houses and at their homes. Schubert also met at this time the bar. Michael Vogl, one of the outstanding opera singers of the day, who became the foremost interpreter of his songs, often acc. by the composer. Apart from church mus., the first public concert of Schubert‘s mus. was in Mar. 1818, at which were perf. (on 2 pf.) the ovs. he had written in imitation of Rossini, whose operas were all the rage in Vienna from 1816. In 1818 spent summer as teacher to the 2 daughters of Count Johann Esterházy at summer estate at Zseliz, where he heard Slav and gipsy folk-mus. On return to Vienna, Schubert lived with Mayrhofer and Hültenbrenner, latter acting as factotum, assembling Schubert‘s MSS. His Singspiel, Die Zwillingsbrüder, received 6 perfs. in Vienna in June 1820, with Vogl singing the roles of the twin brothers; and in Aug. his incidental mus. for Die Zauberharfe was used at the Theater an der Wien. Other works comp. in this period were the ‘Trout’ Quintet, written at Steyr, Upper Austria, during holiday in 1819 with Vogl, the oratorio Lazarus, setting of Psalm 23, Wanderer Fantasy, and the Quartettsatz. In 1821 Diabelli pubd. song Erlkönig, the first mus. by Schubert to appear in print. Others followed. In 1820-1, the Schubert circle of friends changed as some members left Vienna. Among new associates were painters Leopold Kupelweiser and Moriz von Schwind, and musician Franz Lachner.

In 1821 sketched his 7th Sym., in E major, but left it unorch. (several musicians have ‘completed’ it, among them J. F. Barnett, 1884, Felix Weingartner, 1935, and Brian Newbould, 1977). The following year, comp. an 8th Sym. in B minor, but completed only 2 movts. in full and 130 bars of a scherzo. However, the ‘Unfinished’ Sym. is a complete work of art in itself as it stands. Schubert heard Weber conduct Der Freischütz and Euryanthe in Vienna and himself wrote several stage works between 1821 and 1823, the operas Alfonso und Estrella and Der häusliche Krieg, and incidental mus. for Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern, a play by Helmina von Chézy (librettist of Euryanthe) which ran for 2 perfs.

Ill-health began to trouble Schubert in 1823; while in hospital that year comp. some of the songs of the song-cycle Die schöne Müllerin. At Zseliz in 1824 with the Esterházy family, wrote A minor str. qt. and Grand Duo for pf. duet. In the summer of 1825, joined Vogl for a 5-month tour of Austria, composing all the time. At Gmunden and Gastein said to have comp. a sym. of which no trace has been found, but modern scholarship tends to take the view that this is the ‘Great’ C major Sym. (No.9), usually ascribed to 1828 but now thought to date from 1825. Scholarship is equally divided over what personal contact there was between Schubert and Beethoven, but incontrovertibly Schubert was a torchbearer at Beethoven‘s funeral in 1827 and had earlier visited him on his deathbed.

The last 2 years of Schubert‘s short life are fully documented in Schubert: The Final Years by John Reed (1972). To them belong the song-cycle Winterreise, the Eb pf. trio, Moments musicaux and 3 pf. sonatas, many songs, and Str. Quintet in C major. All Schubert‘s mus., even the happiest, has a tinge of sadness; the works of his last years, when illness increasingly afflicted him, are at an extreme of poignancy. In Mar. 1828 gave a public concert of his works in Vienna. It made a profit for him, but none of the city‘s mus. critics attended. Died on 19 Nov. 1828 and was buried near to Beethoven at Währing. Both composers were later exhumed and reburied in the Central Cemetery of Vienna.

Many of the works by Schubert which we hold most dear were not perf. until several years after his death. As a composer of songs he has no equal in fertility of melodic invention, but all his work is so graced with melody of the most seraphic kind that there was at one time a tendency to regard him as an ‘undisciplined’ composer for whom form meant little. How wrong a judgement this was can be realized simply by studying the great chamber works and late pf. sonatas alone. He ranks among the very greatest of composers in all forms except opera, and concs. (of which he wrote none), and the listener has a lifetime of discoveries among his vast output. His works were catalogued by O. E. Deutsch and are now given Deutsch (D) nos. Prin. comps.:

OPERAS: Des Teufels Lustschloss (1813-14, D84); Die Bürgschaft (fragment, 1816, D435); Alfonso und Estrella (1821-22, D732); Der häusliche Krieg (1823, D787; orig. title Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators)); Fierrabras (1823, D796).

OPERETTAS: Claudine von Villa Bella (1815, D239); Die Freunde von Salamanka (1815, D326); Fernando (1815, D220); Der vierjährige Posten (1815, D190); Die Zwillingsbrüder (1818-19, D647).

STAGE MUSIC: Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), melodrama (1820, D644); Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern (1823, entr‘actes, ballet mus., Romanza for sop., Shepherd‘s Song, and choruses, D797).

ORCH.: syms.: No.1 in D (1813, D82), No.2 in Bb (1814-15, D125), No.3 in D (1815, D200), No.4 in C minor (‘Tragic’, 1816, D417), No.5 in Bb (1816, D485), No.6 in C major (1818, D589), No.7 in E major (1821, unscored by Schubert), No.8 in B minor (‘Unfinished’, 2 movts. only, 1822, D759), No.9 in C major (‘Great’, 1825, D944); ovs.: in Bb (1812, D11), in C major (D591) and D major (D590) (both ‘in Italian style’, 1817), in D (1817, D556), in E minor (1819, D648); 5 German Dances (1813, D90); 5 Minuets with 6 Trios (1813, D89); Rondo in A major, vn. and orch. (1816, D438).

CHURCH MUSIC: Masses: F major (1814, D105 with 2nd Dona nobis 1815, D185), G major (1815, D167), C major (1816, D452), Ab (1819-22, D678), Bb (1815, D324), Eb (1828, D950), Deutsche Messe (1826-7, D872); Lazarus, oratorio (1820, D689); Hymn to the Holy Spirit, male vv. and wind (1828, D964); Kyrie in D minor (1812, D31), Bb (1813, D45), D minor (1813, D49), F major (1813, D66); Salve Regina, sop., orch., organ (1812, D27); Psalm 23, women‘s vv. (1820, D706); Tantum ergo in C (1822, D739), in D (1822, D750).

VOICES & ORCH.: Cantata in honour of Spendou (1816, D472); Prometheus (1816, lost, D451); Namensfeier (1813, D80).

VOICES (unacc. or with pf./gui.): An die Sonne (1816, D439); Die Advokaten (1812, D37); Begräbnislied (1815, D168); Cantata for Vogl‘s birthday (1819, D666); Cantata for Salieri‘s jubilee (1816, D441); Christ ist erstanden (1816, D440); Coronach (1825, D836); Das Leben ist ein Traum (1815, D269); Der Entfernten (c.1816, D331); Der Geistertanz (1816, D494); Der Tanz (1825, D826); Frühlingsgesang (1822, D740); Gebet (1824, D815); Geist der Liebe (1822, D747); Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Song of the Spirit over the Waters) (1817, 2 versions, D538, 1821 with orch. D714); Gondelfahrer (1824, D809); Gott der Weltschöpfer (c.1815, D986); Gott im Ungewitter (c.1815, D985); Gott in der Natur (1822, D757); Grab und Mond (1826, D893); Hymne an den heiligen Geist (1828, D964); Hymne an den Unendlichen (1815, D232); Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes (c.1821, D710); Jünglingswonne (?1822, D983); Lebenslust (1818, D609); Mondenschein (1826, D875); Nachthelle (1826, D892); Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt (1819, D877/4); Punschlied (1815, D277); Ständchen (1827, D920); Trinklied (1815, D148); Verschwunden sind die Schmerzen (1813, D88).

CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qts.: No.1 in Bb (1812, D18), No.2 in C (1812, D32), No.3 in Bb (1813, D36), No.4 in C (1813, D46), No.5 in Bb (1813, D68), No.6 in D (1813, D74), No.7 in D (1814, D94), No.8 in Bb (1814, D112), No.9 in G minor (1815, D173), No.10 in Eb (1813, D87), No.11 in E (1816, D353), No.12 in C minor (Quartettsatz) (1820, D703), No.13 in A minor (1824, D804), No.14 in D minor (Death and the Maiden, 1824, D810), No.15 in G (1826, D887); String Quintet (2 vn., va., 2 vc.), C major (1828, D956); pf. quintet, A major (Die Forelle (Trout), 1819, D667); qt. for guitar, fl., va., vc. (arr. of Notturno by Matiegka) (1814 D96); pf. trios: No.1 in Bb (1827, D898), No.2 in Eb (1827, D929), Notturno in Eb for pf. trio (1825, D897), sonata for pf. trio in Bb (1812, D28); sonatas: vn. and pf. in A (1817, D574), arpeggione (or vc.) and pf. in A minor (1824, D821); sonatinas: vn. and pf., No.1 in D (1816, D384), No.2 in A minor (1816, D385), No.3 in G minor (1816, D408); Octet in F (2 vn., va., vc., db., cl., bn., hn.) (1824, D803). Miscellaneous: Adagio and Rondo Concertante, pf., vn., va., vc. (1816, D487), Fantasia on Sie mir gegrüsst in C, vn., pf. (1827, D934); Rondo brillant in B minor, vn. and pf. (1826, D895); Introduction and Variations on Trock‘ne Blumen, fl. and pf. (1824, D802); Minuet and Finale in F for wind octet (1813, D72).

2 PIANOS: Divertissement à la hongroise (1824?, D818), Fantasia in F minor (1828, D940), sonata in Bb (1818, D617), sonata in C (Grand Duo) (1824, D813), Introduction and Variations on an Original Theme in Bb (c.1818, D603), 2 Marches caractéristiques in C (1826, D886), 3 Marches militaires (No.1 in D, No.2 in G, No.3 in Eb, 1822, D733, also for orch.); also polonaises, rondos, ovs., and sets of variations.

PIANO: sonatas: No.1 in E (1815, D157, unfinished), No.2 in C (1815, D279, unfinished), No.3 in E (1816, D459), No.4 in A minor (1817, D537), No.5 in Ab (1817, D557), No.6 in E minor (1817, D566), No.7 in Db (1817, D567), No.8 in B (1817, D575), No.9 in C (1818, D613, unfinished), No.10 in F minor (1818, D625, unfinished), No.11 in A (1819, D664), No.12 in A minor (1823, D784), No.13 in C (1825, D840, unfinished), No.14 in A minor (1825, D845), No.15 in D (1825, D850, rev. of No.7), No.16 in G (1826, D894), No.17 in C minor (1828, D.958), No.18 in A (1828, D959), No.19 in Bb (1828, D960); Allegretto in C minor (1827, D915); Fantasia in C (Wanderer, 1822, D760; version for pf. and orch. by Liszt); 11 Impromptus (1828): No.1 in C minor, No.2 in Eb, No.3 in Gb, No.4 in Ab (D899), No.5 in F minor, No.6 in Ab, No.7 in Bb, No.8 in F minor (D935), No.9 in Eb minor, No.10 in Eb, No.11 in C (D946); Klavierstück in A (1818, D604); 12 Ländler (1823, D790); 6 Moments musicaux (1823-8, D780): No.1 in C, No.2 in Ab, No.3 in F minor, No.4 in C# minor, No.5 in F minor, No.6 in Ab; 3 Klavierstücke (1828, D946): No.1 in Eb minor, No.2 in Eb, No.3 in C; Rondo in D (1818, D608); 2 Scherzos (1817, D593); Hungarian Melody (1824, D817); Valses nobles (1827, D969); 13 Variations in A minor on a theme of Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1817, D576); 12 Waltzes (1815-21, D145); 36 Waltzes (1816-21, D365).

SONG-CYCLES: Die schöne Müllerin (1823, D795); Winterreise (1827, D911); Schwanengesang (1827-8, D957, publisher‘s coll., not conceived as cycle). See individual entries for names of component songs.

SONGS: It is impracticable to list here all Schubert‘s songs. A selection of the best known is given here, with poet‘s name:

Abendstern (Mayrhofer, 1824, D806), Die abgeblühte Linde (Széchényi, 1817, D514), Alinde (Rochlitz, 1827, D904), Allein, nachdenklich wie gelähmt (Petrarch, 1818, D629), Die Allmacht (Pyrker, 1825, D852), Am Bach im Frühling (Schober, 1816, D361), Am Grabe Anselmos (Claudius, 1816, D504), Am See (Bruchmann, 1823, D746), An den Frühling (Schiller, 1815, D245), An den Mond (Goethe, 1815, D296), An die Entfernte (Goethe, 1822, D765), An die Freude (Schiller, 1815, D189), An mein Klavier (Schubart, c.1816, D342), An die Laute (Rochlitz, 1827, D905), An die Leier (Bruchmann, 1822, D737), An die Musik (Schober, 1817, D547), An die Nachtigall (Holty, 1815, D196), An die untergehende Sonne (Kosegarten, 1816, D457), An eine Quelle (Claudius, 1817, D530), An schwager Kronos (Goethe, 1816, D369), An Sylvia (Shakespeare, 1826, D891), Auf dem Wasser zu singen (Stolberg, 1823, D774), Auf der Bruck (Schulze, 1825, D853), Auf der Donau (Mayrhofer, 1817, D553), Auflösung (Mayrhofer, 1824, D807), Ave Maria (Ellen‘s Song, W. Scott, trans. Storck, 1825, D839), Bei dir Allein (Seidl, 1826, D866/2), Beim Winde (Mayrhofer, 1819, D669), Berthas Lied in der Nacht (Grillparzer, 1819, D653), Der blinde Knabe (Cibber, 1825, D833, 2nd version), Die Bürgschaft (Schiller, 1815, D246), Cronnan (Ossian, 1815, D282), Delphine (Schütz, 1825, D857), Des Fischers Liebesglück (Leitner, 1827, D933), Du bist die Ruh’ (Rückert, 1823, D776), Der Einsame (Lappe, 1825, D800), Epistel (Collin, 1822, D749), Erlkönig (Goethe, 1815, D328), Die erste Liebe (Fellinger, 1815, D182), Der Fischer (Goethe, 1815, D225), Fischerweise (Schlechta, 1826, D881), Die Forelle (Schubart, 1817, D550), Frühlingsglaube (Uhland, 1820, D686), Frühlingslied (Anon, 1816, D398), Ganymed (Goethe, 1817, D544), Geheimes (Goethe, 1821, D719), Geheimnis (Mayrhofer, 1816, D491), Die Götter Griechenlands (Schiller, 1819, D677), Grablied (Kenner, 1815, D218), Gretchen am Spinnrade (Goethe, 1814, D118), Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (Schiller, 1817, D583), Harfenspieler I—Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt (Goethe, 1816, D478); II—An die Türen will ich schleichen (Goethe, 1816, D479); III—Wer nie sein Brot (Goethe, 1816, D480), Heidenröslein (Goethe, 1815, D257), Heimliches Lieben (Klenke, 1827, D922), Heiss’ mich nicht reden (Goethe, Mignon Song, 1826, 2nd version D877/2), Hektors Abschied (Schiller, 1815, D312), Hermann und Thurnelda (Klopstock, 1815, D322), Herrn Josef Spaun (Collin, 1822, D749), Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) with cl. obbl. (Müller and von Chézy, 1828, D965), Horch, horch, die Lerch (Shakespeare, 1826, D889), Im Abendrot (Lappe, 1824, D799), Im Frühling (Schulze, 1826, D882), Im Haine (Bruchmann, 1822, D738), Iphigenia (Mayrhofer, 1817, D573), Jäger, ruhe von der Jagd (W. Scott, 1815, D838), Die junge Nonne (Craigher, 1825, D828), Der Jüngling am Bache (Schiller, 3 versions, 3rd, 1819, D638), Der Jüngling an der Quelle (1821, D300), Der Jüngling und der Tod (Spaun, 1817, D545), Kennst du das Land? (Goethe, 1815, D321), Der König in Thule (Goethe, 1816, D367), Lachen und Weinen (Rückert, 1823, D777), Licht und Liebe (Collin, 1816, D352), Die Liebende schreibt (Goethe, 1819, D673), Liebhaber in allen Gestalten (Goethe, 1817, D558), Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren (Mayrhofer, 1816, D360), Das Mädchen (Schlegel, 1819, D652), Das Mädchen aus der Fremde (Schiller, 1814, D117), Meeresstille (Goethe, 1815, D216), Mignon und der Harfer (Goethe, 1826, D877/1), Minnelied (Holty, 1816, D429), Miriams Siegesgesang for sop. and ch. (Grillparzer, 1828, D942), Morgenlied (Werner, 1820, D685), Der Musensohn (Goethe, 1822, D764), Nacht und Träume (Collin, 1822, D827), Nachtgesang (Kosegarten, 1815, D314), Nachtviolen (Mayrhofer, 1822, D752), Nähe des Geliebten (Goethe, 1816, D162), Normans Gesang (W. Scott, trans. Storck, 1825, D846), Nunmehr, da Himmel, Erde (Petrarch, 1818, D630), Nur wer die Sehnsucht Kennt (Goethe, Mignon song, 5 versions. 5th, 1826, D877/4), La pastorella (Goldoni, 1817, D528), Der Pilgrim (Schiller, 1823, D794), Prometheus (Goethe, 1819, D674), Rastlose Liebe (Goethe, 1815, D138), Raste, Krieger (Scott, 1825, D837), Die Rose (Schlegel, 1822, D745), Das Rosenband (Klopstock, 1815, D280), Der Sänger (Goethe, 1815, D149), Schäfers Klagelied (Goethe, 1814, D121), Der Schiffer (Mayrhofer, 1817, D536), Schlummerlied (Mayrhofer, 1817, D527), Der Schmetterling (Schiegel, 1815, D633), Schwestergruss (Bruchmann, 1822, D762), Sehnsucht (Schiller, 1813, D52), Sei mir gegrüsst (Rückert, 1822, D741), Seligkeit (Holty, 1816, D433), So lasst mich scheinen (Goethe, Mignon song, 2 versions, 2nd, 1826, D877/3), Sprache der Liebe (Schlegel, 1816, D410), Ständchen (Horch, horch, die Lerche) (Grillparzer, 1827, D921), Die Sterne (Leitner, 1828, D939), Suleika‘s Songs I—Was bedeutet die Bewegung (Willemer, 1821, D720), II—Ach, um deine feuchten Schwingen (Willemer, 1821, D717), Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden) (Claudius, 1817, D531), Totengräbers Heimweh (Craigher, 1825, D842), Trost im Liede (Schober, 1817, D546), Über Wildemann (Schulze, 1826, D884), Dem Unendlichen (Klopstock, 1815, D291), Der Vater mit dem Kind (Bauernfeld, 1827, D906), Versunken (Goethe, 1821, D715), Die Vögel (Schlegel, 1820, D691), Der Wanderer (Lübeck, 1816, D493), Der Wanderer an den Mond (Solde, 1826, D870), Wanderers Nachtlied (Goethe, 2 settings, 2nd 1822, D768), Wehmut (Collin, 1823, D772), Wiegenlied (Anon., 1815, D498), Wiegenlied (Seidl, 1826, D867), Der zürnende Barde (Bruckmann, 1823, D785), Der Zwerg (Collin, 1822, D771).

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