Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/380

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368

��SCHUBERT.

��every song some example of such faithful paintin may be found. A word will often do it. Wit Schubert the minor mode seems to be synony mous with trouble, and the major with relief and the mere mention of the sun, or a smile, o any other emblem of gladness, is sure to mak him modulate. Some such image was floatinj before his mind when he made the beautifu change to A major near the beginning of th A minor Quartet (bar 23).

The foregoing remarks, which only attempt t deal with a few of the external characteristics o these astonishing songs, will be of use if the only encourage the knowledge and study of them The chronological list (No. II) of Schubert's pro ductions, which is here attempted in this form for the first time, will, it is hoped, throw mud light on the progress of his genius, by facilitating the search where alone it can be made wit] profit, namely in the works themselves. All ar worth knowing, though all are by no means o equal excellence.

I end my imperfect sketch of the life an works of this wonderful musician, by recalling the fact that Schubert's songs, regarded as a department of music, are absolutely and entirely his own. Songs there were before him, those of Schulz for instance, and of Zumsteeg, which he so greatly admired, and of Haydn and Mozart- touching, beautiful expressions of simple thought and feeling. But the Song, as we know it in his hands ; ; full of dramatic fire, poetry, and pathos ; set to no simple Volkslieder, but to long complex poems, the best poetry of the greatest poets, and an absolute reflection of every change and breath of sentiment in that poetry; with an accompani- ment of the utmost force, fitness, and variety such songs were his and his alone. With one exception. Beethoven left but one song of im- portance, his Liederkreis ' (op. 98), but that is of superlative excellence. The Liederkreis, how- ever, was not published till Dec. 1816, and even if Schubert made its acquaintance immediately, yet a reference to the Chronological List will show that by that time his style was formed, and many of his finest songs written. He may have gained the idea of a connected series of songs from Beethoven, though neither the 'Schone Miillerin' nor the ' Winterreise ' have the same intimate internal connexion as the Liederkreis ; but the character and merits of the single songs remain his own. When he wrote 'Loda's Ge- apenst* and 'Kolma's Klage' in 1815, he wrote what no one had ever attempted before. There is nothing to detract from his just claim to be the creator of German Song, as we know it, and the direct progenitor of those priceless treasures in which Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Brahms have followed his example.

Of Schubert's religion it is still more difficult to say anything than it was of Beethoven's, be- cause he is so much more reticent. A little poem of Sept. 1820, one of two preserved by Robert Schumann (Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, Feb. 5,

��SCHUBERT.

1839) is a s vague a confession of faith as can well be imagined.

THE SPII5IT OF THE WORLD. Leave them, leave them, to their dream,

I hear the Spirit say : It and only it can keep them

Near me on their darkling way. Leave them racing, hurrying on

To some distant goal, Building creeds and proofs upon

Half-seen flashes in the soul. Not a word of it is true.

Yet what loss is theirs or mine? In the maze of human systems

I can trace the thought divine.

The other, three years later, May 8, 1823, is some- what more definite. It calls upon a 'mighty father ' to look upon his son lying in the dust ; and implores Him to pour upon him the ever- lasting beams of His love ; and, even though He kill him, to preserve him for a purer and more vigorous existence. It expresses very imper- fectly, it is true, but still unmistakeably the same faith that has been put into undying words by the great poet of our own day :

Thou wilt not leave us In the dust ;

Thou madest man, he knows not why;

He thinks he was not made to die ; And Thou hast made him : Thou art just.

Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell. That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster. 1

Franz may not have gone the length of his brother Ignaz 2 in vulgar scoffing at religious forms and per- sons, which no doubt were very empty in Vienna at that date ; but still of formal or dogmatic religion we can find no traces, and we must content ourselves with the practical piety displayed in his love for his father and Ferdinand, and testified to by them in their touching words and acts at the time of his death (p. 354 a] ; and with the certainty that, ihough irregular after the irregularity of his time, Schubert was neither selfish, sensual, nor im- moral. What he was in his inner man we have

he abundant evidence of his music to assure us.

Whatever the music of other composers may do, no one ever rose from hearing a piece by Schubert without being benefited by it. Of his good-nature 10 those who took the bread out of his mouth we lave already spoken. Of his modesty we may be allowed to say that he was one of the very few musicians who ever lived who did not behave as f he thought himself the greatest man in the world. 3 And these things are all intrinsic parts if his character and genius. That he died at an earlier age 4 even than

1 In Memorfam (Prologue).

2 See his letter in Kreissle, 147 (1. 149).

a This modesty comes out in a letter to Ferdinand of July 18 18, 824, where Schubert says, it would be better to play some other uartetsthan mine '(probably referring to those in E and Kb), 'since here is nothing in them except perhaps the fact that they please ou. as everything of mine pleases you. True,' he goes on, 'you. do ot appear to have liked them so much as the waltzes at the Ungar- che Krone,* alluding to a clock at that eating-house of which erdinand had told him, which was set to play Franz's waltzes. The ock shows how popular Schubert was amongst his own set, and I gret having overlooked the fact in its proper place. 4 The following are among the musicians, poets, and painters who ave died in the fourth decade of their lives. Shelley, 80 ; Sir Philip dney.32; Bellini, 33 ; Mozart, 35; Byron, 36; Rafaelle, 37; Burns.

Purcell, 37 ; Mendelssohn, 38 ; Weber, 39; Chopin, 40.

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