Schubert

Schubert

Schubert

Schubert

Synopsis

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, this extraordinary series continues to amaze and captivate its readers with detailed insight into the lives and work of music's geniuses. Unlike other composer biographies that focus narrowly on the music, this series explores the personal history of each composer and the social context surrounding the music. In a precise, engaging, and authoritative manner, each volume combines a vivid portrait of the master musicians' inspirations, influences, life experiences, even their weaknesses, with an accessible discussion of their work-all in roughly 300 pages. Further, each volume offers superb reference material, including a detailed life and times chronology, a complete list of works, a personalia glossary highlighting the important people in the composer's life, and a select bibliography. Under the supervision of music expert and series general editor Stanley Sadie, Master Musicians will certainly proceed to delight music scholars, serious musicians, and all music lovers for another hundred years. When this much acclaimed biography on Schubert was published ten years ago, it was welcomed as `a model of critical biography ... an essential vade mecum for all Schubertians'. In the intervening years, however, Schubert's public image has changed considerably, making it necessary to revise thoroughly the main text of the book as well as the four detailed appendices which serve as a useful reference section. Its aim remains the same: to provide a readable, authoritative, and reliable guide to Schubert's life and works for the student, the musician, and the general reader.

Excerpt

The reception history of great composers, and especially that of Schubert, is best thought of as a gradual process of discovery, as a full and complete disclosure of the range of the composer's genius. Hence the importance of complete editions and performances. This was recognized even in the nineteenth century by the missionary work of such Schubert enthusiasts as Charles Hallé, who in 1868 played all the eleven then available piano sonatas of Schubert in a series of London recitals; and August Manns, the conductor of the Crystal Palace Orchestra, who in 1881 performed all eight symphonies in chronological order. Manns followed this up two years later by performing the E major symphonic sketch of 1821 inJohn Barnett completed orchestration. The same urge to present Schubert whole and complete must have inspired Nicolaus Dumba and Eusebius Mandyczewski, the chief architects of the first complete critical edition in 1884-97. Little progress was made in this direction between the wars. In recent years, however, and especially in the decade which has elapsed since the first edition of this book was published, we have become accustomed not only to complete recordings and performances of the sonatas and symphonies, but also to recordings and serial performances of that rich store-house of good music, the four-hand piano duet works. Even Schubert's more than 600 songs are now available in recorded editions, a far cry from the days when he was represented in the catalogues by, say, thirty songs.

Another symptom of the growing public interest in Schubert's music is the proliferation of Schubert societies and associations throughout the world. Again, we have to look back to the 1860s for the beginning of the story. The Musical Times of June 1866 carried the following announce- ment: SCHUBERT SOCIETY 'The first Soirée Musicale of this recently formed Society took place on Thursday evening April 25th, at the Beethoven Rooms, Harley Street. With a view to spreading still wider a taste for the works of the renowned Franz Schubert, Mr. E. Schubert has set on foot the above Society.' It is good to know that the evening began with a per- formance of the E flat Piano Trio Op. 100, admirably rendered by Miss . . .

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