Schubert, Franz

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) was an Austrian romantic composer and although he died at the age of 31, he was a prolific composer, having written some 600 lieder and nine symphonies. Aged 10, the young Schubert won a place in the Vienna Imperial Court chapel choir and quickly gained a reputation as a budding composer with a set of facile string quartets.

After leaving chapel school and having completed the year's mandatory training, Schubert followed his father into the teaching profession. This was at once a calamitous move and a blessing, for it was Schubert's deep loathing of the school environment that finally lit the touchpaper of his creative genius. The same year he began teaching - 1814 - he produced his first indisputable masterpiece, 'Gretchen am Spinnrade' ('Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel').

While Schubert was still struggling to hold down his full-time teaching post, he composed 145 lieder (songs), the Second and Third Symphonies, two sonatas, a series of miniatures for solo piano, two mass settings and other shorter choral works, four stage works, a string quartet, and various other projects. This period of intense creative activity remains one of the most inexplicable feats of productivity in musical history.

Musical soirées known as Schubertiads became all the rage, during which Schubert might sing some of his own songs while accompanying himself at the piano.

With little money and nothing much more than his 'groupies' to support him, Schubert began to produce a seemingly endless stream of masterpieces that for the most part were left to prosperity to discover, including the two great song cycles, Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, the Eighth ('Unfinished') and Ninth ('Great') Symphonies, the Octet for Wind, the last three string quartets, the two piano trios, the String Quintet, the 'Wanderer' Fantasy and the last six sonatas for solo piano.

During 1815 alone, Schubert composed over 140 masterly song settings - including the unforgettable 'Erlkonig' - although he was still only 18 at the time.


Franz Schubert

Compositions in catalogue

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Chamber Music series
HORN & PIANO            
Six Schubert Songs for horn & piano
edb 0702018
Schubert / Ashworth
Six Schubert Songs for flute & piano
edb 0702019
Schubert / Ashworth