Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/376

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364

��SCHUBERT.

��knew what he was thinking of, as we do in the songs, we might possibly find the repetitions just In the Eb Trio he repeats in the Finale a charac- teristic accompaniment which is very prominent in the first movement and which originally belongs perhaps to the Ab Impromptu (op. 90, no. 4) and a dozen other instances of the same kind might be quoted. 1 This arose in great part from his imperfect education, but in great part also from the furious pace at which he dashed down his thoughts and feelings, apparently without pre- vious sketch, note, or preparation ; and from his habit of never correcting a piece after it was once on paper. Had he done so he would doubt- less have taken out many a repetition, and some trivialities which seem terribly out of place amid the usual nobility and taste of his thoughts. It was doubtless this diffuseness and apparent want of aim, as well as th e j oily, untutored, nawett of some of his subjects (Rondo of D major Sonata, etc.), and the incalculable amount of modulation, that made Mendelssohn shrink from some of Schubert's instrumental works, and even go so far as to call the D minor quartet scklechte Musik i.e. 'nasty music.' But unless to musi- cians whose fastidiousness is somewhat abnormal as Mendelssohn's was such criticisms only occur afterwards, on reflection ; for during the progress of the work all is absorbed in the in- tense life and personality of the music. And what beauties there are to put against these redundances ! Take such movements as the first Allegro of the A minor Sonata or the Bb Sonata; the G major Fantasia-Sonata; the two Characteristic Marches; the Impromptus and Momens musicals ; the Minuet of the A minor Quartet ; the Variations of the D minor Quartet ; the Finale of the Bb Trio; the first two move- ments, or the Trio, of the String Quintet ; the two movements of the B minor Symphony, or the won- derful Entracte in the same key in Rosamund e ; the Finale of the loth Symphony think of the abundance of the thoughts, the sudden surprises, the wonderful transitions, the extraordinary pathos of the turns of melody and modulation, the abso- lute manner (to repeat once more) in which they bring you into contact with the affectionate, tender, suffering personality of the composer, and who in the whole realm of music has ever approached them ? For the magical expression of such a piece as the Andantino in Ab (op. 94, no. 2), any redundance may be pardoned.

In Schumann's 2 words, ' he has strains for the most subtle thoughts and feelings, nay even for the events and conditions of life; and innumerable as are the shades of human thought and action, so va- rious is his music.' Another equally true saying of Schumann's is that, compared with Beethoven, Schubert is as a woman to a man. For it must be confessed that one's attitude towards him is almost always that of sympathy, attraction, and love, rarely that of embarrassment or fear. Here and there only, as in the Rosamunde B minor Entracte, or the Finale of the loth Symphony,

i For a comparison of his Sonatas with those of other masters see ONATA. 2 Ges. Schriften, I. 206.

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does he compel his hearers with an irresistible power ; and yet how different is this compulsion from the strong, fierce, merciless coercion, with which Beethoven forces you along, and bows and bends you to his will, in the Finale of the 8th or still more that of the 7th Symphony.

We have mentioned the gradual manner in which Schubert reached his own style in instru- mental music (see p. 361). In this, except per- haps as to quantity, there is nothing singular, or radically different from the early career of other composers. Beethoven began on the lines of Mozart, and Mendelssohn on those of Weber, and gradually found their own independent style. But the thing in which Schubert stands alone is that while he was thus arriving by degrees at individuality in Sonatas, Quartets, and Sym- phonies, he was pouring forth songs by the dozen, many of which were of the greatest possible novelty, originality, and mastery, while all of them have that peculiar cachet which is imme- diately recognisable as his. The chronological list of his works given at the end of this article shows that such masterpieces as the Gret- chen am Spinnrade, the Erl King, the Ossian Songs, Gretchen im Dom, Der Taucher, Die Biirgschaft, were written before he was 19, and were contemporary with his very early efforts in the orchestra and chamber music ; and that by 1822 in the October of which he wrote the two movements of his 8th Symphony, which we have named as his first absolutely original instru- mental music he had produced in addition such ballads as Ritter Toggenburg (1816), and Ein- samkeit (1818); such classical songs as Memnon (1817), Antigone und QEdip (1817), Iphigenia (1817), Ganymed (1817), Fahrt zum Hades (1817), Prometheus (1819), Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (1817); Goethe's Wilhelm Meister songs, An Sch wager Kronos (1816), Grenzen der Menschheit (1821), Suleika's two songs (1821), Geheimes (1821); as well as the ' Wanderer ' (1816), 'Sei mir gegriisst' (1821), Waldesnacht (1820), Greisengesang (1822), and manj more of his very greatest and most immortal songs.

And this is very confirmatory of the view already taken in this article (p. 328) of Schubert's relation to music. The reservoir of music was within him from his earliest years, and songs being BO much more direct a channel than the more complicated and artificial courses and conditions of the symphony or the sonata, music came to the surface in them so much the more quickly. Had the orchestra or the piano been as direct a mode of utterance as the voice, and the forms of symphony or sonata as simple as that of the song, there seems no reason why he should not have written instrumental music as charac- teristic as his 8th Symphony, his Sonata in A minor, and his Quartet in the same key, eight years earlier than he did ; for the songs of that early date prove that he had then all the original jower, imagination, and feeling, that he ever lad. That it should have been given to a com- >arative boy to produce strains which seem to wreathe the emotion and experience of a long

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