Born on January 31, 1797, in Himmelpfortgrund, Austria, Franz Peter Schubert, the son of a schoolmaster, received a thorough musical education and won a scholarship to boarding school. Although he was never rich, the composer's work gained recognition and popularity, noted for bridging classical and romantic composition. He died in 1828 in Vienna, Austria
Franz Peter Schubert demonstrated an early gift for music. As a child, his talents included an ability to play the piano, violin and organ. He was also an excellent singer.
Franz was the fourth surviving son of Franz Theodor Schubert, a schoolmaster, and his wife, Elisabeth, a homemaker. His family cultivated Schubert's love of music. ...view middle of the document...
By 1814, the young composer had written a number of piano pieces, and had produced string quartets, a symphony, and a three-act opera.
Over the next year, his output included two additional symphonies and two of his first Lied’s, "Gretchen is Spinnrade" and "Erlkönig." Schubert is, in fact, largely credited with creating the German Lied. Boosted by a wealth of late 18th-century lyric poetry and the development of the piano, Schubert tapped the poetry of giants like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, showing the world the possibility of representing their works in musical form.
In 1818, Schubert, who had not only found a welcome audience for his music but had grown tired of teaching, left education to pursue music full-time. His decision was sparked in part by the first public performance of one of his works, the "Italian Overture in C Major," on March 1, 1818, in Vienna.
The decision to leave school teaching seems to have ushered in a new wave of creativity in the young composer. That summer he completed a string of material, including piano duets "Variations on a French Song in E minor" and the "Sonata in B Flat Major," as well as several dances and songs.
That same year, Schubert returned to Vienna and composed the operetta "Die Zwillingsbrüder (The Twin Brothers), which was performed in June 1820 and met with some success. Schubert's musical output also included the score for the play "Die Zauberharfe" (The Magic Harp), which debuted in August 1820.
The resulting performances, as well as Schubert's other pieces, greatly expanded his popularity and appeal. He also showed himself to be a visionary. His composition "Quartettsatz [Quartz-Movement] in C minor," helped spark a wave of string quartets that would dominate the music scene later in the decade.
But Schubert had his struggles as well. In 1820, he was hired by two opera houses, the Karthnerthof Theatre and Theatre-an-der-Wein, to compose a pair of operas, neither of which fared very well. Music publishers, meanwhile, were afraid to take a chance on a young composer like Schubert, whose music was not considered traditional.
His fortunes began to change in 1821, when, with the help of some friends, he began offering his songs on a subscription basis. Money started coming his way. In Vienna especially, Schubert's harmonious songs and dances were popular. Across the city, concert parties called Schubertiaden sprung up in the homes of wealthy residents.
By late 1822, however, Schubert encountered another difficult period. His financial needs going unmet, and his friendships increasingly strained, Schubert's life was further darkened when he became severely sick—historians believe he almost certainly contracted syphilis.
And yet, Schubert continued to produce at a prolific rate. His output during this time included the renowned "Wanderer Fantasy" for piano, his masterful, two-movement "Eighth Symphony," the "Die Schöne Müllerin" song cycle, "Die Verschworenen" and the opera "Fierrabras."