Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time for a Schubertiade

Schubertiade (1868) by Moritz von Schwind

Franz Schubert is my favorite composer. He has influenced me more than any other creative genius, in any of the arts or sciences. No works of art resonate within my mind with the potency of his music.

Why? There are too many reasons to articulate in a coherent and accessible manner, but I think it can be boiled down to two main points: Romanticism and Melody.

Schubert's Romantic style fully embraces the wandering and dark musings of the imagination. However, he maintains Classical tightness and eloquence, avoiding the overblown excesses that weigh down the work of later Romantic composers. For Schubert, all of the passion and inspiration of the Sublime can be articulated, with effectiveness and efficiency, into a tightly structured, highly melodic song

As regards melody, it is through this that the Romantic narrative is expressed. Moreover, these tales of sound and emotion have the narrative purpose at their core, as their premise. Sometimes the story is vague, simply a progression of emotion, and, sometimes, it is direct, programmatic in design. In either case, one can't listen to this music within being drawn into Schubert's narrative mindscape.

Portrait of Franz Schubert (1825) by Wilhelm August Rieder

I could go on endlessly about these two topics, as well as countless other aspects of Schubert's music. However, in celebrating his birth date, born 1797, I think it is only fitting to let his music make its own case.

So, let's start the Schubertiade. Here are some vids:

Trout quintet: Allegro vivace, part 1

Die Schone Mullerin: Des Baches Wiegenlied

Impromptu, Op.90/3

Winterreise: Der Leiermann

Standchen, D.957, transcribed for cello and piano


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