Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/358

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346

��SCHUBERT.

��meet every one's wish, and yet sound as well as before. On the other hand, had it been Beethoven or Schumann we may be equally sure that not a note would have been changed, and that every- thing would have ended in confusion. With all Schubert's good-nature, when his music was con- cerned he was of the same mind as Beethoven and Schumann. There are other instances of the same stubbornness, which will be noticed later.

Some set-off to these disappointments was af- forded by the ready way in which his Gastein Symphony was received by the Musik-Verein, and the sympathetic resolution and prompt dona- tion which accompanied its acceptance, although no attempt to perform or even rehearse it can now be traced. The beautiful ' Nachthelle,' already referred to, which he composed in September, was rehearsed during the early winter months, and performed by the Society on Jan. 25, 1827.

Some little gratification also he not improbably derived from the letters which during this year he began to receive from publishers in the north. Probst of Leipzig one of Beethoven's publishers, predecessor of the present firm of Senff was the first to write. His letter is dated Aug. 26, and is followed by one from Breitkopf & Hartel of Sept. 7. True, neither are very encouraging. Probst speaks of his music as too often * peculiar and odd,' and 'not intelligible or satisfactory to the public' ; and begs him to write so as to be easily understood ; while Breitkopf stipulates that the only remuneration at first shall be some copies of the works. Still, even with this poor present result, the fact was obvious that he had begun to attract attention outside of Austria.

As to Schubert's life in the early part of 1827 we have little to guide us beyond the scanty inferences to be drawn from the dated compo- sitions. The first of these of any moment are 8 Variations (the 8th very much extended) on a theme in Herold's opera ' Mai-ie,' for PF. 4 hands (op. 82). 'Marie' was produced on the Vienna boards Jan. 18, 1827; and Schubert's Variations are dated 'February, 'and are dedicated to one of his friends in Upper Austria, Prof. Cajetan Neuhaus of Linz. The next and still more important work is the first half of the ' Winterreise,' 12 songs ('Gute Nacht' to 'Ein- samkeit'), marked as begun in Feb. 1827. Franz Lachner remembers that ' half a dozen ' of them were written in one morning, and that Diabelli gave a gulden (that is a franc) apiece for them. The poems which form the basis of this work are by Wilhelm Midler, the poet of the ' Schone Mul- lerin,' which the Winterreise closely approaches in popularity, and which it would probably equal if the maiden of the Winter-walk were as definite a creation as the miller's daughter is. They are 24 in l all, and appear under their now immortal name in the 2nd volume of the work of which vol. i. contained the 'Schone Miillerin,' and which has the quaint title already quoted (p. 338 6). The 2nd vol. was published at Dessau in 1824, and did not at once attract Schubert's notice. When it did, he made short work of it. Another im-

1 The order of the songs is much changed in the music.

��SCHUBERT.

portant composition of this month (dated Feb 28) is the Schlachtlied (battle-song) of Klopstock, set for 2 choirs of male voices, sometimes answer- ing, sometimes in 8 real parts, of immense force and vigour, and marked by that dogged adherence to rhythm so characteristic of Schubert.

He can scarcely have finished with this before the news that Beethoven was in danger spread through Vienna. The great musician got back to his rooms in the Schwarzspanierhaus from his. fatal expedition to Gneixendorf in the first week of December, became very ill, and during January was tapped for the dropsy three times. Then Malfatti was called in, and there was a slight improvement. During this he was allowed to read, and it was then that Schindler, a zealous Schubert- propagandist, took the opportunity to put some of Schubert's songs into his hands. 1 He made a selection of about 60, in print and MS., including

  • Iphigenie,' ' Grenzen der Menschheit,' ' All-

macht,' 'Diejunge 2 Nonne,' 'Viola,' the 'Miiller- lieder,' etc. Beethoven up to this time probably did not know half a dozen of Schubert's composi- tions, and his astonishment was extreme, especi- ally when he heard that there existed at least 500 of the same kind. ' How can he find time, said he, to set such long poems, many of them containing ten others?' i. e. as long as ten separate ones ; and said over and over again, ' If I had had this poem I would have set it myself; ' Truly Schubert has the divine fire in him.' He pored over them for days, and asked to see Schu- bert's operas and PF. pieces, but the illness re- turned and it was too late. But from this time till his death he spoke often of Schubert, regret- ting that he had not sooner known his worth, and prophesying that he would make much stir in the world. 3 Schubert was sure to hear of these gratifying utterances, and they would naturally increase his desire to come into close contact with the master whom he had long worshipped at a distance. It is possible that this embold- ened him to visit the dying man. He seems to have gone twice ; first with Anselm Hu'tten- brenner and Schindler. Schindler told Bee- thoven that they were there, and asked who he would see first. 'Schubert may come in first' was the answer. At this visit perhaps, if ever,* it was, that he said, in his affectionate way, 'You, Anselm, have my mind (Geist), but Franz has my soul (Seele).' The second time he went with Josef Hiittenbrenner and Teltscher the painter. They stood round the bed. Beethoven was aware of their presence, and fixing his eyes on them, made some signs with his hand. No one however could explain what was meant, and no words passed on either side. Schubert left the room overcome with emotion. In about

��1 Schindler. ' Beethoven,' ii. 136.

2 Schiudler's list of the songs perused by Beethoven differs In hi*. two accounts. Compare his 'Beethoven,' ii. 136, with K.H. 264 (i.

a Schindler, in BSuerle's Theaterzeitung (Vienna). May S, 1831.

< See von Leitner, ' Anselm HQttenbrenner, 1 tiratz. 1868, p. 5. The- story has an apocryphal air, but Httttenbrenner was so thoroughly trustworthy, that it is difficult to reject it. At any rate, Beethoven is not likely to have thus expressed himself before he bad made ac- quaintance with Schubert's music.

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