Grand symphony (1825-6)
The records of Schubert's social and creative life during the ensuing winter months are curiously thin. There are no major works between October 1824 and April 1825. Until February, when he moved to new quarters in a house next door to Schwind's lodgings, he remained quietly at home in the Rossau, firmly refusing social engagements and taking afternoon walks with his brothers. There Schwind visited him regularly, and by dint of much persuasion got him to come out and meet Anna Hönig, the daughter of a formidable academic lawyer, with whom Schwind had fallen in love. But Schubert was in an obstinately unsociable mood, and his indifference to the social conventions on one such occasion upset the volatile Schwind, who was naturally anxious to impress the Hönig family.1 On 29 January the first of a weekly series of Schubertiads was held at the house of Josef Witteczek, the son-in-law of that Professor Watteroth in whose honour Schubert Prometheus cantata had been performed, but we do not find Schubert's name among the list of guests. Nor is there any mention of the usual New Year celebrations.
This is not the only circumstantial evidence we have that Schubert's health had again taken a turn for the worse during these winter months. In his biography of the composer Kreissle refers to the 'well-authenticated fact' that the song 'Der Einsame' (The Recluse) was written, appropriately in a way, while Schubert was a patient in hospital.2 The song appeared as a supplement to the Vienna Zeitschrift für Kunst in March 1825, and it is generally supposed that it was written not later than January. If so, the inference is inescapable that Schubert spent some part of that month in hospital. 'Der Einsame' is one of two fine songs written to texts by Karl Lappe. How Schubert came upon the poems is not known, for they were not published till 1836, but whatever the source, he made of 'Der Einsame' and the companion piece, 'Im Abendrot' (Sunset Glow), masterpieces of subjective feeling in contrasted moods.
Our main source of information on these matters is Schwind. On 14 February he wrote to Schober:____________________