Music Composers: Franz Peter Schubert

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Franz Peter Schubert was born on January 31st, 1797 and grew up in a suburb outside of Vienna. Schubert was a very talented musician and received a musical education at Stadtkonvikt, a school for young singers which was meant to feed into the Imperial court chapel. His teachers applauded his talent as a young musician. He sung in a court choir until his voice broke and he could no longer sing. His father who was an educator pressured Schubert into following his footsteps. Even though Schubert was not enthused about being a teacher he worked as an assistant and then as a schoolmaster. Throughout his teaching career, Schubert continued to compose music. He retired from educating, shortly after he began, in order to pursue music.
Schubert lived in the Romantic period and wrote almost seven hundred songs throughout his life including symphonies, Lieder, string quartets and various religious works. Some of his most famous works are “Der Erlkönig” and the “Unfinished” Symphony. It is interesting, however, that Schubert’s works did not bring him the fame or fortune that he deserved. He never had a consistent job and lived off of teaching and money contributed from his friends. Shubert’s work was never played for large audiences during his life. It was instead played for groups of gifted ammeters, who called themselves Schubertians. Shubert never married. It is believed that Schubert was gay and suffered from syphilis. He died at the early age of thirty one, on November 19th, 1828. It was not until nearly sixty years after his death that his work was played for a large audience.
One of Schubert’s most famous pieces is “Der Erlkönig,” which translates to “The Elf King.” There are specific attributes of the Romantic period that can be s...

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...never able to hold a steady Job. Schubert worked for two opera houses to compose operas and which did not work out very well for him. He struggled to get his works published because publishers did not want to take chances with a young non-traditional composer. Near the end of Schubert’s life he applied to be the music director at his old school, Stadtkonvikt, but did not receive the job.
Franz Peter Schubert’s well deserved recognition was not realized until after his death. He was admired by later composers, including Robert Schumann. Schumann wrote that he “cried all night” after the death of Schubert. Schumann loved Schubert’s piano music and as a result composed only piano music until he married. Schubert is recognized as one of the great composers of his time. His life left a major impact on the music of his time and his works are still admired by many today.

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