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O PERSONALITATE PE ZI: Compozitorul Franz Schubert

Written by on 19 noiembrie 2023

Described by Liszt as „the most poetic of composers”, Schubert became the composer par excellence of the early romantic period. Writing music in almost all major genres, through his creations he set a standard that was unsurpassed for more than a century, notes .

Franz Schubert was born on January 31, 1797, at Himmelpfortgrund, near Vienna. His life was short, brilliant, spent almost entirely in the city of Vienna.


An image of a happy bohemian persisted into the 20th century. The truth was darker and more complex. During his lifetime, Schubert was known for shorter piano pieces. The discovery of his larger creation began in 1839, when Robert Schumann came across the manuscript „Great Symphony” in C major.


In the 1860s, other orchestral masterpieces, such as the „Unfinished” Symphony and the String Quintet in C major, were premiered. Although chamber works such as the „Trout” Quintet, the Octet and the Piano Trio in B flat radiate charm and cordiality, the Sonata in A minor, the Winterreise song cycle and the String Quartet No. 14 in D minor known as „Death and the Maiden” illustrates the tendency of depression and despair of the composer, according to .


Schubert was very aware of his unusual gifts as a child. His older brother, Ignaz, taught him to play the piano, but Schubert quickly surpassed him. He told her bluntly that he intended to go his own way. He sang in the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. There and at home he immersed himself in the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

His first symphonies and string quartets were composed as a teenager, then he continued at university and later as a teacher in his father’s school. Inevitably, his creations are full of echoes of the Viennese masters he revered. Mozart’s „The Magic Flute”, Symphony K550 in G minor and Beethoven’s Second and Seventh Symphonies were among his favorites. His delightful Fifth Symphony of 1816 is an open homage to Mozart. These early works are charming and show signs of individuality, but still breathe the spirit of the late 18th century. In instrumental music, Schubert was deeply aware of tradition.


With „Gretchen am Spinnrade,” composed when he was just 17, he created one of the world’s most moving songs, his perpetual motion accompaniment simultaneously evoking the spinning wheel and mirroring the shifting nuances of Gretchen’s ecstatic agitation. Between 1815 and 1816, Schubert composed over 250 pieces. Among them were masterpieces inspired by Goethe, from „Erlkönig” and „An schwager Kronos”, in a bold and harmonic tone, to refined folk like „Heidenröslein”, recalls .


As with Mozart, he never had the security of a permanent position. Often he had to rely on the generosity of friends. But from around 1820 his reputation as a piano composer grew rapidly. Until his death, at the age of 31, he negotiated with several publishers willing to purchase his works. Schubert knew, however, that fame and prosperity were only possible through the opera house. In 1818, Vogl had secured a commission from the Court Opera for a one-act opera, „Die Zwillingsbrüder”.

Opera would dominate Schubert’s creative life for the next few years, but his lack of theatrical flair and opportunism proved fatal. When his great opera „Fierrabras” was rejected by the Court Theater in 1823, Schubert’s hopes collapsed into disillusionment. Meanwhile, he had fallen seriously ill with syphilis. A note of fatalism creeps into his letters. In his music, the sense of desire deepens and darkens: in the cycle „Die schöne Müllerin”, composed partly in the hospital, for example. Or the two string quartets from 1824, the intensely nostalgic quartet in A minor and the demonic „Death and the Maiden”, reminds .


Because they were always close to the composer, Schubert’s friends also received a name – „der Schubertianer” – and were reproduced as such in many works of the time

However, there were periods of remission. In the summer of 1825, Schubert visited with Vogl the mountain landscapes of Upper Austria. Here began the „Great” Symphony in C major, combining ecstatic energy with a lyricism that is quintessentially Schubertian. Schubert’s first great song cycle, „Die schöne Müllerin”, follows a narrative from gentle innocence to tragic experience.

With frightening intensity, Schubert explores a mind that hovers between nihilism and delusion. He himself described them as „terrifying songs”. Even by Schubert’s standards, his final year, 1828, was one of phenomenal creative energy. He produced the moving „Fantasy in F minor” for piano, the String Quintet in C major, the last three piano sonatas and a sequence published posthumously in the „Schwanengesang” collection. A few weeks after the completion of these works, he died on November 19, 1828. His epitaph was written by the playwright Franz Grillparzer: „Here music buried a treasure, but an even more righteous hope.”

AGERPRES/(Documentary – Suzana Cristache Drăgan, editor: Roxana Losneanu, online editor: Andreea Preda)

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