The winter journey (1827)

1827 is the climacteric year. The contrast between man and artist reaches baffling proportions; the task of reconciling Schubert's private life with the inner world of his imagination becomes so difficult as to seem irrelevant. The Schubertians transferred their allegiance from the 'Green Anchor' to the 'Castle of Eisenstadt', and the diaries of the brothers Hartmann record a relentless succession of parties, interspersed with an occasional reception or Schubertiad. Schober in later life hinted at even wilder excesses. In June 1868, when he was in his seventies, Schober entertained a party of journalists with a story about a forgotten love affair of Schubert's. Ludwig Frankl, who wrote the story down, says it concerns a young woman called Gusti Grünwedel. According to Schober, Schubert was in love with her, and she was well-disposed towards him, but Schubert was too modest. When Schober suggested that he ought to marry her, Schubert protested that no woman could possibly love him. He jumped up, rushed out of the room without his hat, flushed with anger . . . telling himself again and again that no happiness was granted to him on earth. Schubert then let himself go to pieces, according to Schober. 'He frequented the city outskirts and roamed around in taverns, at the same time composing his most beautiful songs in them, just as he did in the hospital too . . . where he found himself as the result of excessively indulgent sensual living and its consequences.'1 Yet 1827 is the year of Winterreise, of the two great piano trios and two sets of Impromptus for piano; a year especially characteristic of his mature genius. His friends were well aware that there were two contradictory sides to his nature. Mayrhofer spoke of it as 'a mixture of tenderness and coarseness, sensuality and candour, sociability and melancholy'.2 Bauernfeld, with his dramatist's detachment, analysed it more closely: 'If there were times, both in his social relationships and in his art, when the Austrian character appeared all too violently in the vigorous and pleasure-loving Schubert, there were also times when a black-winged demon of sorrow and melancholy forced its way into his vicinity; not altogether an evil spirit, it is true, since, in the dark con-

____________________
1
Memoirs, pp. 265-6.
2
Memoirs, p. 14.

-140-

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Schubert
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Abbreviations x
  • Preface to the First Edition xi
  • Preface to the Second Edition xv
  • 1 - Early Life 1
  • 2 - The Schoolhouse Years (1813-16) 14
  • 3 - The Origins of the Lied 26
  • 4 - Instrumental, Liturgical, and Dramatic Works (1813-16) 37
  • 5 - New Perspectives (1817-March 1821) 50
  • 6 - The Opera Years (1821-3) 73
  • 7 - Poetry and Disillusion (1824) 98
  • 8 - Grand Symphony (1825-6) 114
  • The Winter Journey (1827) 140
  • 10 - The Final Phase (1828) 158
  • Appendix A 183
  • Appendix B 201
  • Appendix C 234
  • Appendix D 253
  • Index 261
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