Franz Schubert biography, analysis of piano works, articles on the unfinished piano sonatas and their completions, Q&A, pictures and links
Schubert biography by Bart Berman
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) never achieved widespread fame during his lifetime, though he inspired intense loyalty and affection. The conventional schoolmaster, who was his father, did not include musicianship in his list of suitable professions, and Franz was prevented from becoming a child prodigy pianist-composer like Mozart.
Yet the consummate composer Schubert, from his 18th year onward (Erlkönig) tried hard to succeed. Wholeheartedly or not, he imitated Rossini's immensely popular style in his music to Rosamunde. He wrote a variety of choral works intended to win him support among the broad public of music lovers. And, encouraged by his friends, he wrote operas which, despite their excellent music, missed theatricality to make them stage worthy.
Far from being an ivory tower composer, he sought to please those who for who his creations were made be they chamber music players, talented amateur singers, or the average concert-goer. Even the beloved piano impromptus need not give an impression of personal confessions, but, at most, that of a compromise between a genre not exclusively originating with Schubert himself, and the typical Schuberterian poetry so dear to us now.
Perhaps a few outstanding pieces were meant less for Schubert's contemporaries than for posterity: the last great piano sonatas, the string quartet in G (Tremolo), the String Quintet; in any case, it is possible to conclude so from their experimental character.
Schubert's many compositions for piano duet are no exception to the rule of his having a certain public in mind and catering to it, often in the role of a private teacher who plays his own four hands pieces with a charming young pupil, fulfilling in an ideal way his father's wish that Franz follow in his pedagogical footsteps.
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OF FIVE PIANO DUETS
NOTES ON FRANZ SCHUBERT
Analysis of Five Piano Duets
The Unfinished Piano Sonatas
Completing the Unfinished Sonatas
Questions & Answers
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