The schoolhouse years (1813-16)

For the next three years, while the long war moved on to its dramatic concluding stages and the map of Europe was redrawn, Schubert lived quietly at home in the schoolhouse on the Säulengasse. In 1814 he attended the teachers training school of St Anna, and in August passed the examination to qualify as a primary teacher. Thereafter he took over responsibility for the infants' class in the Liechtental school, teaching the youngest children their letters. According to family tradition he made an impatient schoolmaster, not above administering an occasional slap in the interest of good discipline.

For this period at any rate Grove's dictum is true: 'his life is all summed up in his music.' The biographical details can all be recounted in few words. Schubert fell in love, and like many another found that there was no future in the affair. His first complete mass was performed, and made an impression. His circle of friends and admirers grew, and his genius as a songwriter of exceptional power and originality began to be recognized. For the rest he taught, and he composed. For his services in school he received eighty florins a year. As for the compositions, the statistics are formidable. Nearly half of the works listed in the thematic catalogue compiled by Otto Erich Deutsch belong to the three years which followed his leaving school. They include five symphonies, four masses, six operas, four string quartets, not to mention a vast number of smaller pieces and about 270 songs!

This creative explosion could only have been possible if his school duties left him with a great deal of spare time and energy. The probable explanation is that the youngest children attended only for a few hours each day, so that Schubert could devote the major part of the day to composing. The point needs to be borne in mind before we dismiss his stipend of eighty florins a year as an outrageous insult. The myth of Schubert's lifelong poverty dies hard. The true value of historical incomes is indeed difficult to assess; but if we remember that the annual salary of a qualified teacher or junior civil servant in those days was only about 450 florins, we may concede that a youth of seventeen, not yet fully qualified and living at home, was not perhaps doing too badly with eighty.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 274

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?