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Schubert's Influences

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Posted on Jun 9, 2012 1:39:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 9, 2012 1:44:46 PM PDT
scarecrow says:
Beethoven's influence on Schubert was the physicality, the large orchestral depth and presence Ludwig brought to music,

same with this on Wagner, who made it more grandiose,cathedral (then Mahler and Bruckner, Strauss), the late-romantics;
and the influence ends there, for Beethoven did not throw much influence for how to utilize text;he really had little imagination there. . .you might argue this point. . .
Schubert then was deeply inspired by the power of image, place, words, texts,
whereas Beethoven had no real gift for setting words, or manipulating text, he was quite shallow in this realm, quite self-evident,his Songs are hardly ever programmed;
I've never found "Fidelio" all that exciting, no matter who does it;I try to avoid it whenever possible. . .
So this is why Beethoven's instrumental music is so powerful, for the narrative of a text, (hidden or given ) does not encumber the freedom of the resonance of the music;it projects itself without it, a text, a narrative;

You always pay a price,so then Schubert was not good at large scale form,as Ludwig--Schubert had problems with the Symphony;which are all for the most part song-symphonies;he had a little better success in the piano sonatas; but many are uneven in structure,immature really and many are not wholly convincing.
And the chamber music has even more problems,, , I've played the Trios.
This is why Svaitoslav Richter came very late to them, as many pianists, not til after Beethoven do you even attempt Schubert in public;,
Schubert, we all know was a Song genius,a genius to create mood, atmosphere, place, moments, poetry; OK, that''s what he wanted to work with;
I always find an affinity with Hanns Eisler in our own century;he wrote some 500 songs.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 2:01:15 PM PDT
KenOC says:
"...Beethoven had no real gift for setting words..."

An agreement from ETA Hoffman in 1810: "He is therefore a purely romantic composer. Might this not explain why his vocal music is less successful, since it...can depict from the realm of the infinite only those feelings capable of being described in words?"

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 2:53:27 PM PDT
ramencity says:
Listening to Schnabel playing Mozart's A minor piano sonata the other day and I thought I'd put Schubert in by accident..

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 3:49:02 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:10:52 AM PST]

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 1:15:15 AM PDT
MacDoom says:
I haven't played the trios. Heard them, though. When I put one of them into the player, I know beforehand that I'm in for some three quarters of an hou of pure unmitigated joy. I wish all music had that problem.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 3:22:56 AM PDT
Skaynan says:
One thing is certain: should Schubert have not died so tragically young, he would have been counted among the really great 1st tier composers, right alongside Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. And the 19th century music would have sounded completely different as a consequence.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:29:27 AM PDT
K. Beazley says:

"One thing is certain: should Schubert have not died so tragically young, he would have been counted among the really great 1st tier composers, right alongside Bach, Mozart and Beethoven."

But he already is counted amongst those greats.


Posted on Jun 10, 2012 3:32:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 3:33:21 AM PDT
Skaynan says:
Kim: I count him as such, but it seems most people (and scholars) don't, won't you agree?

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 4:10:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 4:26:20 AM PDT
Larkenfield says:
Franz Liszt once said that Schubert was "the most poetic musician who ever lived," and I'm inclined to agree with him. Schubert sometimes gets knocked because his focus is generally more on melodic development rather than on harmonic dramatics (though he was still a great harmonist, imo) and there are scholars who consider a certain kind harmonic development and complexity as a signature of the greatest of the greats. And yet Schubert remains one of our most often performed composers, not to mention beloved, because of his great sincerity and ever flowing melodic genius. Whether he is considered as one of the greatest of 1st tier composers or not, I believe it would be folly for any 1st tier scholar to deny that in the history of music, Schubert as a great composer is undoubtedly one of our immortals. ♬

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 4:32:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 6:20:22 AM PDT
scarecrow says:

when I think about any artist I never consider age, just the results, what is written, the substance of it, and the context of their life; although Schubert was quite young, he was light years ahead in/ of existence, he simply never had the time to devote to the Sonata; all those Songs;

instead of "immature" I could have said, "temporary offering",a Sonata without all its substance worked out yet;or a" Sonata waiting for development at some future time", for Schubert yes that meant within a few months;

my view is that if you are a genius in one area, one realm, it is often, very often! difficult to be that same "Substance-maker" in another; Yes you do have "bolts" of clairvoyance. But it is often a situation where you borrow from your known "preserve" (for Schubert the Song), so the string quartets are really very much "Songs" . . .
Schubert began the paradigm against Beethoven actually, with the fragments of romanticism, the Song,one idea works--- later Mendelssohn and Chopin, Robt.Schumann, gave this "fragmentariness" a new life, the one idea work, a nocturne, a prelude, a song, a set of character pieces, as Schumann was very fond of;
I guess the synthesis occurs in Berlioz,the grand orchestral piece, with discreet narratives guiding it along- a clear theatrical-like program then given greater Substance with Wagner, and Mahler;
I suspect had Schubert lived he would have written a Song-Symphony with Solo Voice; and or his own Symphonie Fantastique;

I'm thinking that really the symphony didn't come into it;s own creative realm until the 20th Century. Believe it or not!
Brahms I suppose we must admire, it would be blasphemous not to--; but in light of Mahler and Bruckner we easily forget Brahms's Symphonies, well I do. .
Mahler and Bruckner basically developed for a time, and then wrote the same work over n over again. . and Strauss and Wagner gave up on it altogether;Opera was the space of the new Symphony. .
When we talk about the development of culture, artists really have no time at all, they simply utilize what has already been done; this gives a resonance to their work, for without it, what are they doing alone isolated, culture doesn't develop in isolation,when it does it makes it;s own rules, as Claude Levi-Strauss has shown with primitive cultures;?
I think culture today is in fact returning to it;s primitive roots;look at the incredible interest in pornography;on all levels; it is considered an art;

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 6:28:41 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 6:36:40 AM PDT
Skaynan says:
Listening with that in mind, I hear Rossini in Schubert's 3rd symphony 1st movement, and definate Haydn in the 2nd movement.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 7:06:53 AM PDT
Dichterliebe says:
Schubert, particularly in his sonatas and quartets, achieved a level of complete technical assurance as well as a unique and visionary sound world that can stand next to any composer's and exceeds most. His lyrical nature followed the path of the lyrical proto-Romantic sonata tradition already established by the older members of the generation to which he belonged; by his tragically early death, he had remarkably reconciled Beethoven's genius with his own, never once descending to imitation but transcending.

Schubert's lieder have never needed defending but it is time we recognized once and for all that Schubert's approach to the sonata (form and genre) is valid. There is no single definition of 'sonata'. It is a concept, an idea -- not a straightjacket or set of architectural plans. I dare anyone to point to me just where the first movement of D960 needs improvement: is it the development, where he states the principal theme in the relative over a hovering accompaniment, pp, in a simple repeated triad, then, ppp, moves to the tonic key, here sounding as ironically distant as stars, the accompaniment turning into a shimmering haze as if looking onto the horizon and some great beyond, accompanied by the distant rumble of thunder? In this passage, the humble singspiel has been transformed into something of pure magic by the scale of the sonata but on closer examination, we realize it is the sonata that has been transformed by the singspiel, the song.

Sorry to go on like this but Schubert needs no apologists. Each of us has our own honest reactions and that's my $0.02.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 7:10:39 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:10:53 AM PST]

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 7:57:58 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 12:03:18 PM PDT
Yeah - I love reading those great Dichterliebe posts. There was another one yesterday too. I couldn't agree more.

Beethoven had his celestial inspirations but he couches them in a manner showing that he was fully aware of their worth - and he milks them to wring every bit of juice out that he can work out technically. No fault in that. Schubert's inspirations have a more wistful quality - I'm also not saying that Schubert didn't stretch material - when inspiration seems to flag, he was not beyond overstaying ideas. This happens in the trios at times, which has been mentioned. He doesn't relish working the material as much as Beethoven clearly did and as LVB's notebooks illustrate. Considering how much music Schubert produced in his short life, he was a creative ubergenius.

Of all the most revered composers, each seemed to have his own special type of otherworldly brilliance. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Handel, Mendelssohn, Schumann...and of these only Bach, Handel and Haydn had full lifetimes to work.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 9:22:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 1:01:19 PM PDT
D. M. Ohara says:
"..of these only Bach and Haydn had full lifetimes to work."

But don't forget Handel [1685-1759 - edited to correct typo!], whom Beethoven revered above all others.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 11:26:50 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:10:53 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 12:02:15 PM PDT
D. M. Ohara -

I know, I know! Thought about including Handel and didn't. I'll correct that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:52:03 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:

"Kim: I count him as [1st tier], but it seems most people (and scholars) don't, won't you agree?"

I didn't state my opinion. I said he IS "counted amongst the greats. Besides, who are all these nameless scholars & "most people" who disagree? This is a very poor debating tactic called "elephant hurling".


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 12:40:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 2:00:26 PM PDT

Kim I don't see this as a debate but I agree that Schubert was 1st tier and if there isn't a mountain's worth of evidence to support it there is at least a herd of elephants worth that amounts to infinitely more than a hill of beans. I apparently don't read the opinions of many scholars but in my small collection of books on classical music Schubert is rated as first tier in all of them. One book that actually rates the top 50 (not written by a scholar), rates Schubert #7 of all time just below Brahms and just ahead of Schumann. I happen to love ratings for all kinds of celebrated persons; politicians, ballplayers, boxers, composers, etc. Ratings stimulate conversation and in my opinion Schubert ranks as high as #6 and no lower than #10. I wouldn't debate over somebody rating him as high as #5 or as low as #12. Between number 5 and number 12 isn't unreasonable but it is likely he ranks somewhere between #6 and #10. Any way you look at he was first tier whether we are talking about baseball, boxing, music, barbarians or anything else.

If you compare him to a baseball player he isn't a Babe Ruth but he is probably a Hank Aaron and that gets him the top 10.

If you compare him to a politician he isn't as slick as Bill Clinton but he might be as smooth as Ronald Reagan.

I you compare him to a boxer his music doesn't have the power of a Joe Louis but has the poetic beauty of a Muhammad Ali.

If you compare him to a barbarian he doesn't rank with Atilla the Hun but has the well deserved near mythical reputation of Arnold Schwartzenager.

Breaking his output down by genre I would give him the following ratings on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the highest:
1. Song - 10 (he was the greatest ever by general consensus)
2. Chamber Music - 9, I am very picky about chamber music. I don't like a lot of it but Schubert's is probably my favorite along with Brahms but rate behind Beethoven objectively speaking. His quintet with 2 cellos is one of the most profound pieces of music I have every heard. His Trout Quintet one of the most delightful pieces of music I have ever heard.
3. Orchestral works - 8, very good. The 8th & 9th are enough to rank him very high and some of the others are very enjoyable to listen to. His incidental music to Rosamunde is very enjoyable. He wrote some great overtures. He didn't write any concertos so that pulls his rating down a notch. Rated only as a symphonist I would give him a 9. His other symphonies other than 8 & 9 have a Hadynesque charm about them.
4. Solo Piano - 8.5, Chopin is a 10, Lizst is a 9, Beethoven is a 9, Debussy is a 9, Schumann is a 9, Brahms is an 8, Rachmaninoff is an 8.5. This is, of course, based on my own tastes, and limited exposure. I like his last few piano sonatas as well as most of Beethoven's. I enjoy his Impromptus nearly as much as anything of Chopin's.
5. I hear he wrote some operas but I haven't heard any of them. He gets participation points of 4. I guess he doesn't rate very high here but nobody excelled at everything except maybe Mozart who seemed to write every kind of classical music and nearly all of it very very good and none of it bad.
6. Choral music - I guess he wrote some but I am not familiar with any of it. I'll quote the music critic, and classical music radio announcer, Jim Svedja, on this one; "If Schubert's six Mass settings don't typically contain his most inspired music, then they still serve to remind us that the mediocre music of a master is preferable to the masterpieces of a mediocrity...." I'll give him a 7 on this one based on the opinion of an expert, although maybe not a scholar. Seven is a passing grade.

In at least 4 areas he was very good. In two other areas he gave it a shot but somebody else will have to comment on the quality. From what I have read the operas weren't good and I haven't heard any of his choral music. I am not an art song fan but he is the alltime champion by consensus and he wrote a few I really enjoy. I don't watch soap operas but everybody knows "All My Children" ranks number one. There are things that everybody knows because of a consensus of opinion over many years regardless of scholarly opinion and Schubert was number one in art song and first tier as a composer overall. I do love his chamber music, piano music, and his orchestral music. He wrote a lot of very high quality music and did it in a very short time. There is absolutely no question he was first tier. Any scholar who says he wasn't probably spent a lot of time listening to Schoenberg and forgot what melodious tonal music sounds like. I guess their taste in Viennese composers whose name starts with SCH is different than mine.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 1:25:05 PM PDT
John Hill says:
A lot of comments in this thread are typical of academic musicology in the West, which is overwhelmingly, if you think about its origins, a Teutonic project. In the case of Schubert and the classical/early romantic styles, an especially prominent feature of this project has been to ignore and marginalize the contributions of non-German musicians and composers. For example, without a long-established tradition of outstanding Czech musicianship, Mannheim and the genre of the symphony (Stamitz brothers) could not have been possible. Neither could Vienna, have become such a great capital of music if Bohemia had not raised the general level of music in the multi-ethnic Hapsburg Empire so high. In Schubert's case, the influence of Vorisek and Tomasek must be recognized as primary. Schubert, like Mozart and Beethoven, were at the very crest of a huge wave. In is impressive to be at the crest, of course, but these composers could only get as high as the wave underneath them was big. I don't believe that artists of supreme greatness influence each other nearly as much as they look at very good work being done at the time and identify a style and vocabulary and create their works of genius that are simultaneous within and beyond that style/vocabulary.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 1:29:52 PM PDT
KenOC says:
March writes, "...the only precursor I could think of (in instrumental music) for the long melodic lines of the Rosamunde quartet primo, or the adagio of the Octet, or the Unfinished, was . . . Mozart!"

When Beethoven left Bonn for Vienna, Count Waldstein wrote "Through uninterrupted diligence you will receive Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands." Cooper adds, "What Waldstein perhaps could not perceive was that Beethoven, too, had a strong and independent spirit that was so different from Mozart's that he could never thoroughly absorb it. Schubert was to come much closer to doing so."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 9:57:50 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:

"...stating that "many" works by a composer who died at 31 were "immature" is close to being an empty criticism."

Well said! In fact, if it were just about any other composer we were dealing with here it would even be seen as circular reasoning!

I think, though, that the most salient question of all is: are there any other composers who would be spoken of as being "1st tier" if they'd died at 31? Only Mozart comes to mind. And he had advantages that gave him such an enormous head start, not only on Schubert but on anyone else.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 10:15:46 PM PDT
KenOC says:

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 10:27:07 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:

He was the only one who came to mind, but I wasn't 100% certain of his "1st tier" status. He certainly rates higher with me than he seems to generally. Perhaps it's the Protestant mindset. ;-)


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 10:40:45 PM PDT
KenOC says:
I'll give him 1st tier for the Octet alone...
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Initial post:  Jun 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 11, 2012

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