TU Graz


This is an old - not maintained - article of the AEIOU.

In the Austria-Forum you find an updated version of this article in the new AEIOU.

https://austria-forum.org Imprint

home austria albums search annotate deutsch

Schreyvogel, Joseph Pseudonyme: Thomas West, Karl August West - Schuch, Carl (19/25)
Schubert, Ferdinand Lukas Schubert, Karl Leopold

Schubert, Franz Peter

© Copyright

Franz Schubert. Anonymous painting, around 1827

Schubert, Franz (Peter), b. Vienna, Jan. 31, 1797, d. Vienna, Nov. 19, 1828. Composer; brother of Ferdinand Schubert. Grew up in Lichtental near Vienna as the son of a teacher from Moravia and received his first music lessons from his father (violin, music theory) and his eldest brother Ignaz (piano). As he soon proved to be very musical he joined the Imperial Court Chapel Choir (Hofsängerknaben) in 1808. Musical instruction by J. L. von Eybler, the choirmaster P. Körner and esp. by A. Salieri (until 1816) gave S. sufficient knowledge of harmonic theory, counterpoint and instrumentation, to start composing. After seven smaller instrumental works S. composed his first song "Hagars Klage", in 1811, which is said to have attracted Salieri´s attention. At the boarding school for the Vienna Boys´ Choir, S. met his friend and mentor J. von Spaun; the latter introduced him to J. Mayrhofer, who became his second great friend and supporter. In 1813 S. wrote his First Symphony and began his first dramatic work, "The Devil's Palace of Desire" (Des Teufels Lustschloß). After leaving boarding school at the end of 1813 S. trained as a teacher, as his father had wished him to do, and at the same time worked as an assistant teacher at his father´s school. At first S. only wrote for a small circle, in 1814 the performance of his mass in F major in the Augustinerkirche on the occasion of the Vienna Congress made him more widely known. In 1814 he composed "Gretchen am Spinnrad", the first text by Goethe he set to music. Despite his obligations as a school teacher he composed 145 lieder in the following year (including "Heidenröslein", "Wanderers Nachtlied" and "Erlkönig") as well as four dramatic works, his Second and Third Symphonies, piano sonatas, dances and two masses. These works established the young teacher as a composer in Viennese musical life. In the autumn of 1815 S. met Franz von Schober, and the inner circle of the "Schubertianer" and the "Schubertiaden" concert parties (S., Spaun, Mayrhofer and Schober) were now complete. The three friends enabled S. to give up his unloved job as a teacher and live as a freelance composer (other important friends were L. von Sonnleithner, A. Hüttenbrenner and the court opera singer J. M. Vogl). In 1817 S. wrote more famous lieder ("An die Musik", " Die Forelle"), as well as the string quartet "Death and the Maiden" (Der Tod und das Mädchen). In 1818 (and again in 1824) S. took up regular employment as a music teacher for the daughters of Prince Esterházy in Zeliezovce (Slovakia).

Thanks to the generous support of his friends, who created a kind of "Court of the Muses" around the composer, S. could dedicate himself entirely to his music from 1819. This support also enabled the printing of the "Erlkönig" in 1821. It proved such a success that 20 other lieder were imprinted shortly afterwards. 1820-1823 S. spent the summer with friends in Atzenbrugg (Lower Austria, watercolour by L. Kupelwieser) and as the guest of bishop J. N. Dankesreither in St. Pölten; in the latter´s Ochsenburg castle he composed parts of the opera "Alfonso und Estrella".

A severe illness at the end of 1822 interrupted S.´s productivity for nearly one year. The lieder cycle "Die schöne Müllerin" written during this time reflects his psychological crisis. Another severe blow followed. S., who had always regarded the opera as the height of compositional work, failed as an opera composer; "Fierabras" was refused and "Rosamunde", which was played for the first time in 1823, was a failure. S´s former creativity only returned in 1825 and on a summer journey together with J. M. Vogl he wrote, among other things, a symphony and the famous "Ave Maria". In the two following, relatively carefree years he composed numerous masterpieces such as the last string quartet (1826) or the lieder cycle "Die Winterreise" (1827). The echo of his performances in the European musical press shows that S. was by no means an unrecognised genius but an acknowledged and highly esteemed composer.

S.´s music contains elements of the classicist period, romanticism, Biedermeier and Sturm und Drang and can never be attributed to just one of the four directions. It thus expresses such a range of different emotions that is often characterised as the typically Viennese mixture of weltschmerz and unshakeable cheerfulness.

As an instrumental composer S. built the bridge between the classical period and romanticism. This applies especially to his symphonies, which form the link between classical symphonies and the works of A. Bruckner. S. accepted classical forms but mixed or filled them with the enlarged harmony of romanticism. This can be seen in his instrumental work, esp. in his chamber and piano music, but is even stronger in his experimental genre, the kunstlied, which he perfected. His dances are different; in line with their function they are light music on the highest level, harmonious and with simple forms.

The lied has a special status in his wide-ranging oeuvre. The vocal part and piano accompaniment become more independent, the harmony and form of the lied are extended (development of different settings for each stanza as well as stanzaic forms). S. aimed at an optimal interpretation of the text and dramatic tension. This sense of drama can already be seen in his early lieder such as "Gretchen am Spinnrad"" and "Erlkönig", but becomes even stronger in the cycles "Die schöne Müllerin" and "Die Winterreise".

Of his 18 dramatic works, from the magic opera "Des Teufels Lustschloß" (1814) to "Der Graf von Gleichen" (1827), only 4 were performed (unsuccessfully) in his lifetime. Of "Rosamunde" only the overture and the instrumental intermezzos have become part of orchestral repertoire. S. museum in the house where he was born (Vienna, 9th district).

Works: 18 operas or lyrical dramas: A Sentry for Four Years (Der vierjährige Posten), 1815; Claudine von Villa Bella, 1815; Rosamunde, 1823; Fierabras, 1823; Der Graf von Gleichen, 1827. - Church music: 6 masses, requiem, Stabat mater, Tantum ergo and others. - Numerous choral works (often adaptations of solo songs). - Orchestral works: 9 symphonies (including The Unfinished, 1822, and The Great in C major, 1828); 17 overtures. - Chamber music: 15 string quartets (among others in d minor, "Death and the Maiden", 1824); string quintet in C major, 1828; piano quintet in A major (Trout Quintet), 1819; 4 piano trios. - Piano pieces: 22 sonatas; numerous dances (waltzes, country dances, German dances, marches, polonaises, écossaises); Major, 1822; 8 impromptus; 6 Moments musicaux; four-handed piano pieces. - Nearly 1,000 lieder for a vocal part and piano (among others): Heidenröslein, 1815; Erl King (Erlkönig), 1815; An die Musik, 1817; The Trout (Die Forelle), 1817; Ganymed, 1817. - Song cycles: The Miller's Beautiful Daughter (Die Schöne Müllerin), 1823; Winter Journey (Die Winterreise), 1827; Swan Song (Schwanengesang), 1828. - Edition: F. S., Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, 1964ff.

Literature: O. E. Deutsch, F. S. Die Dokumente seines Lebens und Schaffens, 3 vols., 1913-1919; O. E. Deutsch, F. S., Briefe und Schriften, 1919; O. E. Deutsch, S., Thematic Catalogue of All His Works, 1951 (= Deutsch-Verzeichnis); M. Schneider, F. S., 1958; H. Goldschmidt, F. S., 1964; A. Feil, F. S., 1975; R. Werba, S. und die Wiener, 1978; D. Fischer-Dieskau, F. S. in seinen Liedern, 1978; F. Hilmar, F. S. in seiner Zeit, 1985; J. Reed, S., 1987; W. Litschauer, Neue Dokumente zum S.-Kreis, 2 vols., 1990/93; P. Clive, S. and His World, 1997; E. Hilmar and M. Jestremski (ed.), S.-Lexikon, 1997; W. Dürr and A. Krause, S.-Handbuch, 1997.

References to other albums:
History of Music: Ernst Krenek: Reisebuch aus den österreichischen Alpen, Der Wein
Musik-Kolleg: Franz Schubert

User Guide Abbreviations
© Copyright Encyclopedia of Austria


Search for links to this page
help aeiou project of the bm:bwk copyrights e-mail