“When I wished to sing of love, it turned to sorrow. And when I wished to sing of sorrow, it was transformed for me into love.”
Born on 31 January 1797 in Vienna, Franz Schubert is considered one of the greatest composers and is one of the most frequently played composers today. His melodic and harmonic music was praised by Ludwig van Beethoven, and inspired composers like Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn who collected and championed his works.
Schubert was first introduced to music by his father, who was a parish school master. He also gave young Franz violin lessons, while Schubert’s brother Ignaz gave him piano lessons. The family also played together as a string quartet, with brothers Ferdinand and Ignaz playing the violin, Schubert – the viola, and their father – the cello. Many of Schubert’s early compositions were written for these family occasions.
In 1808, Schubert received a choir scholarship to study at the Convict school that trained young vocalists to sing at the chapel of the Imperial Court. There his genius was recognized by the institution’s director and Vienna’s leading musical authority, Antonio Salieri, who played a great role in Schubert’s life.
In 1813, after Schubert’s voice broke, he returned home and, influenced by his father, completed studies at the Normalhauptschule to become a school teacher. The misery of having to perform teacher’s duties at his father’s school Schubert compensated by music. At nights, freed from the tedious work, Schubert prolifically composed, producing many of his works – about 140 Lieder, one symphony, liturgical and operatic music.
After a couple of years, Schubert finally decided to leave his teaching position and dedicate himself fully to music. However, Schubert was unable to secure a permanent employment, and his music did not receive much acclaim. It was only after Schubert’s death that his works received wide recognition.
During his brief, but very prolific life (Schubert died at 31), he wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies, including the famous Unfinished Symphony, operas, liturgical music as well as chamber and solo piano music.