Image of Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer of prolific stature who composed hundreds of Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous "Unfinished Symphony"), liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music.

Schubert's compositional style demonstrates a great interest in experimentation. Although he was clearly influenced by the Classical sonata forms of Beethoven and Mozart (evident in his early works such as the 5th Symphony), his formal structures and developments seem to give more weight to melodic development than harmonic drama. His tendency towards experimentation manifests repeatedly in Schubert's output in a wide variety of forms and genres, including opera, liturgical music, chamber and solo piano music, and symphonic works. Many of these practices prelude the emergence of common Romantic techniques, such as relaxing, rather than raising, tension in the middle of a movement, with final resolution postponed to the very end.

Although Schubert wrote across a range of mediums, he had an incredibly strong impact (some would argue greatest) in the genre of the Lied. Prior to Schubert's influence, Lieder tended toward a strophic, syllabic treatment of text, evoking the folksong qualities burgeoned by the stirrings of Romantic nationalism. Schubert extended the musical possibilities of lieder, adding dramatic content such as forward-looking uses of harmony, and used eloquently crafted pictorial keyboard figurations.

Schubert's compositional style progressed rapidly throughout his short life. His chamber music continues to be quite popular (the Trout Quintet in partiular), and his varied piano works are often studied during the course of many musicians' lifetime. However, his songs remain the most dominant of all of his genres – including classics such as Ave Maria and the haunting cycle Winterreise – which almost seem to maintain a monopolistic hold on performers and audiences.

Exclusive Schubert Scores for Strings from Ovation Press

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