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Hyperion Records

CDJ33028 - Schubert: The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 28 – Maarten Koningsberger & John Mark Ainsley
CDJ33028

Recording details: March 1996
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown & Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1997
DISCID: 42116816
Total duration: 72 minutes 11 seconds

'There are unknown treasures here. Anyone who hasn't invested in this vast enterprise might well begin with this volume' (Classic CD)

'Irresistible listening' (Financial Times)

The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 28 – Maarten Koningsberger & John Mark Ainsley
An 1822 Schubertiad
Introduction
Schubert in 1821-1822
At the end of 1820 it seemed that Franz Schubert would soon be well known as a composer by everyone in Vienna—and beyond—for he was on something of a winning streak. As the poet Uhland wrote in Schubert’s recently composed song Frühlingsglaube (September 1820), the composer must have thought that the time had come for an improvement in his fortunes, that everything must now change for the better—‘Nun muss sich Alles, Alles wenden’. Schubert needed only an unequivocal success in the opera house to solidify his reputation and, with his ability for hard work and his youthful energy, he might have been forgiven for thinking that this breakthrough was surely imminent. The songs which he wrote in December 1820 (Waldesnacht and Der zürnenden Diana, as well as the choral version with piano of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern) have an energy and confidence, as well as an innovative daring, that show a young master at the height of his powers, flexing his compositional and intellectual muscles in an astonishing display of fiery intensity, though never suppressing that familiar and inimitable Schubertian underlay of sweetness and tenderness. On 1 December 1820 the tenor August von Gymnich performed Erlkönig at one of the fortnightly concerts given in the home of Ignaz Sonnleithner. It was not the first time an audience outside the composer’s immediate circle was given the opportunity to hear his music, but such public performances were not yet very common, and on this occasion the effect on Schubert’s reputation was substantial. This was followed up a few months later (7 March 1821) by a public performance of the same song at the Kärntnertor Theatre by Johann Michael Vogl which made even more of an impression.

It was probably in late 1820 that Sonnleithner, and a few other Schubert friends and enthusiasts, decided that this song, and others, should be known by the outside world. Having ascertained that the commercial publishers were not yet interested in taking a risk (perhaps the difficulty of the piano part was blamed), they decided to guarantee the costs of issuing a printed edition of Erlkönig themselves, with the new publishing firm of Cappi and Diabelli acting as selling agents. The response to this publication was immediately enthusiastic (a hundred copies sold in a single evening), and this scheme was soon extended to other Lieder. Writing in 1857, Leopold Sonnleithner had precise memories of the business arrangements: ‘We had the first twelve works engraved at our own expense and sold on commission at Anton Diabelli’s. From the abundant proceeds we paid Schubert’s debts, namely his rent, his shoemaker’s and tailor’s accounts and his debts at the tavern and the coffee-house, and handed over to him, in addition, a considerable sum in cash.’ By the end of 1821 there were seven opus numbers in print, comprising some twenty songs.

The order in which these songs were published makes interesting reading. When one thinks of the vast treasure-trove of Schubert song manuscripts ready and awaiting publication, the choice of songs actually put forward sometimes makes perfect sense (in the case of almost all the Goethe masterpieces), and sometimes it surprises us. Why, for example, should the two Széchényi songs of Opus 7, charming as they are, have taken precedence over hundreds of others? Perhaps the songs were favourites with those of the composer’s friends who advised him on business matters, or perhaps there was a reason to flatter this powerful member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde with a dedication, and new settings of his poetry? (The date of these songs is in doubt.) Schubert was elected to full membership of the Society in March 1822, and Széchényi’s patronage was of value. If it is true that the Széchényi songs were written and published for tactical reasons, it is a sign of an unworldly young man gradually learning the ways of the establishment in the city which is, to this day, Byzantine in its musical politics.

Opus 1: published March/April 1821: Erlkönig, D328 (Goethe), composed 1815.
Opus2: published end of April 1821: Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118 (Goethe), [1814].
Opus3: published end of May 1821 (all to poems by Goethe): Schäfers Klagelied, D121 [1814]; Heidenröslein, D257 [1815]; Jägers Abendlied I, D368 [1816]; Meeresstille, D216 [1815].
Opus4: published at the same time as Opus 3: Der Wanderer, D489 (Schmidt von Lübeck) [1816]; Morgenlied, D685 (Werner) [1820]; Wandrers Nachtlied, D224 (Goethe) [1815]

(For the fourth volume of songs it seems that the name of Goethe was no longer needed as an indispensable selling point, although Opus 5 was again to be exclusively devoted to the poet. For the first time, with Morgenlied, Schubert permits himself to publish a more recently composed song.)

The first two opuses had been dedicated to important dignitaries, Dietrichstein and Fries, both of whom admired Schubert’s work but played no large personal part in his life. Opus 3 was dedicated to Ignaz von Mosel, a composer Schubert had met in 1820 and who was influential in the operatic world. Opus 4 was dedicated in the most effusive terms to the Patriarch of Venice, Ladislaus Pyrker, who was a genuine music lover and whom the composer was to meet again, with fruitful results, in 1825. These people might be classed under the general heading of ‘the great and the good’, and a letter from the composer to Josef von Spaun in November 1821 puts matters bluntly: ‘My dedications have done their work: that is to say the Patriarch has forked out [‘springen lassen’] 12 ducats and, through Vogl’s intervention, Fries 20, which is a very good thing for me.’ The dedications of the next two sets were more personal however: the Opus 5 songs were dedicated to Schubert’s teacher Antonio Salieri, and the Opus 6 songs to the singer Johann Michael Vogl. This volume included two settings of words by a living Austrian poet, Schubert’s friend Johann Mayrhofer.

Opus5: published early July 1821 (all to poems by Goethe): Rastlose Liebe, D138 [1815]; Nähe des Geliebten, D162 [1815]; Der Fischer, D225 [1816]; Erster Verlust, D226 [1815]; Der König in Thule, D367 [1816]
Opus6: appeared August 1821: Memnon I, D541 (Mayrhofer) [1817]; Antigone und Oedip, D542 (Mayrhofer) [1817]; Am Grabe Anselmos, D504 (Claudius) [1816].
Opus7: appeared late November 1821: Die abgeblühte Linde, D514 (Széchényi) [1817?]; Der Flug der Zeit, D515 (Széchényi) [1817? or 1821?] (perhaps both songs were especially composed for publication); Der Tod und das Mädchen, D531 (Claudius) [1817].

Some of these collections seem interesting in themselves, but others seem simply haphazard. We have no way of knowing whether their gathering together represented great thought and consideration from the composer in the case of each and every opus number. The chances are that the choices were made quickly, and somewhat at random, or with advice (and pressure) from the publisher and members of Schubert’s circle. Unlike Hugo Wolf, for example, clever presentation of his work was never Schubert’s strong point, and he seems to have been little concerned with the aesthetic appearance of his publications. The decision of the Neue Schubert Ausgabe to base their order of publication on the opus numbers printed in Schubert’s lifetime (Volumes 1 to 5) rather than on the chronological principles favoured by Mandyczewski in the old Gesamtausgabe, remains open to question. This leaves the majority of Schubert songs, those not published in his lifetime, in chronological order (Volumes 6 to 14, of which 8 to 11 are still to appear). The pleasure in leafing through the Neue Ausgabe pages from the very first song (Hagars Klage, which, rather perversely, opens Volume 6) to the last (Schwanengesang in Volume 14) is modified by the fact that the songs with opus number do not find here their rightful place in the sequence. It would have been helpful if there had been some indication in this edition of the chronological position of the songs with opus numbers—perhaps the insertion of their titles and edition cross-references at the appropriate places within the pages of Volumes 6 to 14.

Schubertian gatherings were becoming special fixtures of Viennese life even before he was a published composer. His reputation spread by word of mouth, and many more public performances of his music were to be heard. On 26 January 1821 there was a large party in Franz von Schober’s rooms—the first recorded Schubertiad, with fourteen members of the composer’s circle present. It went on until three in the morning, with Schubert’s music as the focal point of an evening of singing and dancing. This concept of an entertainment was to be replicated many times, not only by the inner core of the Schubertians themselves, but by other important Viennese luminaries. As John Reed puts it: ‘The schoolmaster from the Rossau was soon to become the darling of the salons.’ It seemed, at last, as if he was leaving his adolescence behind him. Therese Grob, who had been the love of his teenage years, was married to one Johann Bergmann, a master baker, in November 1820; that chapter of his life was now definitely closed. And the composer also decided that he could no longer share the apartment of Johann Mayrhofer who had been his collaborator and intellectual mentor. The reasons for this move away from Mayrhofer, who was ten years older, have been the subject of much conjecture (it seems the two artists fell out) but Schubert had every reason to believe that 1821 would see his financial circumstances improve and that he would be in a position to have a room of his own. He left Mayrhofer’s flat, a room on the third floor sub-let by Frau Anna Sanssouci, and moved to new lodgings in the same street, Wipplingerstrasse No 350. This was the first time that he had lived alone as an independent lodger. It is there that we find him listed in F H Böckh’s Register of Musicians living in and around Vienna, including the foremost amateurs, with particulars of their domiciles, summer 1821. Armed with this book, any visitor from abroad would have been able to call on the composer and see him at work, but one gathers that the interest from this direction was not overwhelming.

Everything about the music of this period shows a sense of independence and confidence. In this conquering mood the composer’s first priority was to enter the operatic establishment, which offered the greatest chances for fame and fortune. He had already had quite a bit of theatrical experience for his tender years (recent works like Die Zwillingsbrüder written for Vogl, and the music for Die Zauberharfe) but he was now in the mood to tackle something even more substantial, and he must have been counselled to work for the opera house (in any case a regular salary would be no bad thing) in order to ingratiate himself with the ‘powers that be’. The first documents for 1821 in Deutsch’s Documentary Biography are testimonials from important people like Mosel, Dietrichstein, the court composer Weigl and Salieri, all praising his abilities and recommending him for a post. (Dietrichstein, Mosel and Salieri were accordingly thanked with the dedications of the songs Opp 1, 3 and 5.) Schubert was employed as a coach for a short time at the opera house where one of his tasks was to prepare the mezzo-soprano Karoline Unger for the role of Isabella (Dorabella) in Mädchentreue, the German version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Of course, such a job did not work out. Punctuality was not the composer’s strong suit, and one can imagine how hard it must have been for him to abandon a composition in order to be at the Kärntnertor theatre in time for the daily grind. He earned the sum of fifty gulden for his trouble, but that seems to have been the end of his work as a coach. It was also suggested by Anton Schindler (though doubted by Sonnleithner) that Schubert lacked patience in this kind of work, and was bad-tempered with the singers.

From this period also come stories about the composer’s tendency to drink too much. It is true that from time to time the heightened atmosphere of conviviality which provided the framework for the performance of his music resulted in the occasional hangover. (I recently took part in a large Schubertiad in honour of the composer’s 200th birthday and was at the piano throughout the evening, too busy to eat, and unable to partake of the red wine and sweet Tokay enjoyed by the guests—one needs a very clear head to play all those notes. At the end of the evening, once the music was over, the rest of the company was already very merry, and I was tempted to catch up with them; perhaps Schubert was too, and this was the reason that he repaired to the nearest hostelry and drank late into the night on a number of documented occasions.) After music, performers are on an adrenaline ‘high’, and can drink too much (and too quickly) on an empty stomach, losing count of how many times the glass is refilled. It seems that Schubert (who could not have been steadily drinking throughout the evening like his lazier fellow guests) on occasion paid the price of a hangover for too steep and sudden a descent from elation to inebriation. This chain of events is familiar to many musicians and does not suggest a serious alcoholic problem. In any case the quantity (and quality) of the work which continued to pour from the composer’s pen belies such a thesis.

The work-list from the first months of 1821 shows that song composition was very much on his mind. There was a setting of August von Schlegel’s Die gefangenen Sänger in January, as well as the powerful cantata-like song Der Unglückliche to the words of Karoline Pichler, an important salon hostess. Schubert’s acquaintance with Pichler (through the poet Matthäus von Collin) is a sign that the composer was moving in increasingly glamorous social circles at this time. (We find Schubert chez Pichler for lunch in March 1822, and again in April when, according to Anton Prokesch, he played several songs ‘with a wealth of feeling and profundity’.) Apart from these two songs, this period is remarkable for Schubert’s enthusiastic return to the grand old man of German poetry, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Not since 1816 had Schubert lavished such time and energy on the poet, and of course in selecting works for publication he went back to the songs which he had sent to Goethe in that year, bound in an album with a reverential dedication. He had received no reply for his trouble, but it may be that in preparing these songs for publication on commission for Cappi and Diabelli, the composer was reminded of his deep affinity with this poetry. In any case, between February and April 1821 there was a great new flowering of Goethe settings. Many of the Goethe poems that the composer set in 1814 and 1815 had been penned in the eighteenth century and were already classics. Now seven years after Gretchen am Spinnrade, Schubert turned to poetry written in 1814 – the oriental evocations of the West-Östlicher Divan. This is a far cry from the Gothic world of the Faust settings, or the neo-classicism of Ganymed and Prometheus. Indeed, the Divan poems had only been published in 1819 in Germany (the Austrian edition dates from 1820), so for the first time Schubert had the feeling of composing songs as Goethe’s contemporary. The sage of Weimar, in love with his Suleika (her real name was Marianne von Willemer, but Schubert was never to know this), had re-invented himself once again, and now wrote of love with all the passion of the new romantic age, albeit within a cleverly stylised frame which gave the older man the license of a sort of benevolent sultan. It is obvious that Schubert is delighted with the collection – to this period belongs one of the greatest of all the composer’s songs for women, Suleika I (and perhaps the second Suleika song as well). On this disc the songs Versunken (track 1), Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes (2) and Geheimes (4) are all taken from the West-Östlicher Divan, and they all delight in the sensuality of the seraglio. At the same time Schubert was encouraged to return to other parts of Goethe’s oeuvre. The setting of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern D714 was the last attempt at setting this great lyric, this time with male chorus accompanied by low strings (it was not a success at its first performance in March 1821 at the Kärntnertor Theatre). That work lies outside the scope of this series but an earlier setting of the poem from December 1820 can be heard at the end of Volume 24. The great song for bass, Grenzen der Menscheit, also dates from March 1821 as does the fragmentary Mahomets Gesang (3). Schubert continued his work on the poetry of Goethe into April with two settings of Mignon’s lyrics (a preoccupation that continued over a number of years) as well as the stormy fragment Johanna Sebus (5) which seems to have been the last essay in a style of virtuosic moto perpetuo accompaniment which had fitfully preoccupied the composer since the last months of 1820. (Other examples are Waldesnacht, Mahomets Gesang and Versunken.)

Another feature of the time was a growing enthusiasm for Schubert’s music for male chorus. On 7 March 1821 the quartet Das Dörfchen D598 was performed at a concert of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. This was the same Ash Wednesday concert where Erlkönig was aired for the first time by Vogl. Quite apart from Vogl’s success with the song, the quartet (which dated from 1817) was such a success that it created a demand for similar works. On this disc we hear three quartets, Die Nachtigall, Frühlingsgesang and Geist der Liebe, which were composed during 1821/2 for this burgeoning market. In fact the composer became rather irritated with requests for this type of music. He was far more interested in his plans for taking the opera world by storm. Schubert wrote two additional numbers for Hérold’s opera Das Zauberglöckchen (originally titled La clochette ou Le diable page) in time for the work’s Viennese première on June 20. In this work based on the Thousand and One Nights the comic duet between Bedur and Zedir in the second act, with its many repetitions of ‘Wir brechen sein Genick’ (‘We’ll break his neck’), was particularly praised. Schubert seems to have been cornering the oriental market at this time in his career. His music for Das Zauberglöckchen was much inspired by Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and it is interesting that the male quartet Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes looks back to the same opera for inspiration.

In July 1821 Schubert spent some time at Atzenbrugg, a small castle some twenty-three miles west of Vienna where he had also passed some convivial time in the summer months of the previous year. Hospitality to the Schubertians was offered there by Franz von Schober’s uncle, Josef Derfell, who was steward of the property. For a few days each year between 1817 and 1822 there were happy gatherings of young people at Atzenbrugg during the summer, and it seems that Schubert himself was part of this tradition from 1820 on. He composed Atzenbrugger Deutsche, dances which were no doubt initially improvised for the benefit of the guests. Leopold Kupelwieser’s famous drawing Gesellschaftspiel der Schubertianer (‘Party game of the Schubertians’) was drawn at Atzenbrugg. It shows Schubert seated at a piano under which sits a long-eared dog named Drago. A game of charades is in full swing as the word ‘Rheinfall’ (Rhein Falls) is acted out. ‘Rhein’ is also German for ‘Pure’, and ‘Fall’ can refer to the Fall of Man. Accordingly we see the Schubertians acting out the story of Adam and Eve, with Schober assigned the role of the serpent. The other drawing—equally famous—is Landpartie der Schubertianer which depicts an excursion to the nearby Aumühle. Most of the guests have taken their places in the carriage, but in the left of the picture, in the distance, we can see a small likeness of the composer with his characteristic glasses, lost in conversation with a friend and likely to be left behind. Kupelwieser also draw separate portraits of both Schober and Schubert, the latter a full-face sketch in pencil dated 10 July 1821, with the composer wearing a thick, dark neckerchief which seems very uncomfortable for what was probably a hot summer day. Perhaps Kupelwieser used artist’s license and drew it to disguise the composer’s double chins. Other well-known Schubertians who went to Atzenbrugg were Schober himself of course (as well as most of his family), Josef von Spaun, and the pianist Josef Gahy.

That summer it seems that Schubert and Schober were almost inseparable. In mid-September they went together to St Pölten, and to the nearby castle of Ochsenburg which belonged to another of Schober’s relatives, Johannn Nepomuk von Dankesreither. From this time there is only one, stray song, Der Blumen Schmerz, to words by Majláth, something of a study for Trockne Blumen from Die schöne Müllerin of two years later. At Ochsenberg Schubert and Schober shared a room where there was much discussion and smoking of pipes. Here they spent a month working on their operatic project Alfonso und Estrella. Schubert composed the music almost as soon as Schober had written the words – a hasty way of working which neither composer nor librettist was experienced enough to mistrust. Many years after Schubert’s death, Schober was to admit to the weakness of his contribution to the opera. It was written, he said, ‘in a state of happy enthusiasm, but with great innocence of heart and mind’. Later still he was to refer to it as ‘a miserable, stillborn, bungling piece of work that even so great a genius as Schubert was not able to bring to life’. At the time however, these two young artists took it to be a matter of the highest urgency to finish the work as soon as possible. It was certainly the composer’s biggest operatic project to date, with thirty-five numbers in three long acts. By November the work had already progressed as far as the third act. The two friends returned to Vienna from their extended summer excursion and saw a performance of Weber’s Der Freischütz, as well as new production of Fidelio. This turned out to be the end of German opera in Vienna for a considerable period. The Italian impresario Domenico Barbaja took over the management of the Kärntnertor Theatre at the end of the year, and must have realised that there was a strong feeling from local composers and music-lovers about the fate of German opera in the wake of the popular passion for Italian music. As a possibly cynical sop to the local lobby, he invited both Schubert and Weber to submit operas for consideration for the next season, 1822/3. This inspired Schubert and Schober to finish Alfonso und Estrella (of course the composer had the lion’s share of the work), and they submitted it to Barbaja in February 1822.

Rossini arrived in Vienna in March 1822 and enjoyed a series of operatic triumphs during a stay of four months. Of course nothing happened as far as Alfonso und Estrella was concerned, and as the months passed there was a stony silence from the opera house. In the end Schubert had to ask for the score back and he attempted to place the opera elsewhere without success. This must have been very depressing for him as this work, his biggest to date, represented an enormous investment of time and energy. Of course factional politics played a part in this story, including the disapproval of the singer Michael Vogl, who was no admirer of Schober and who believed that the opera was ineffective and unworkable. There is no doubt that his opinion carried some weight in powerful quarters. More encouraging were the long and enthusiastic reviews of the published songs which appeared in January issues of the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung and the Wiener Zeitschrift für Kunst; these marked a new stage in the growth of Schubert’s reputation in the outside world.

Very little music was composed at the turn of the year, although it is notable that Geist der Liebe (11) was written in January and performed a few months later in the very Kärntnertor theatre where Schubert so longed to see and hear Alfonso und Estrella. The other vocal piece written in January was one of the most unusual. In September 1821, Josef von Spaun, one of Schubert’s oldest and closest friends, had been transferred from Vienna to Linz in his capacity as an official in the customs department. Spaun’s cousin Matthäus von Collin wrote a poem in dramatic style in the form of a letter accusing Spaun of not staying in touch with his old friends in Vienna. Schubert set this to music and the result was Herrn Josef von Spaun, Assessor in Linz D749, a song published in 1850 with the subtitle ‘Musikalischer Schwank’—‘musical joke’. Schubert wrote this when he was putting the finishing touches to Alfonso und Estrella, and as a parody of Italian operatic style it is a rare case of a Schubertian send-up with a preposterously dramatic over-reaction to Spaun’s supposed betrayal, and a high C on the word ‘Barbar’. It is significant that Schubert chose to lampoon the Italian style at the very moment that his own future was most threatened by it. It is also notable too that unlike the mechanicals’ opera in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which makes cruel fun of Italian opera, this Epistel contains far too much good music to be effective as a denunciation of a cliché-ridden style. It is as if Schubert had come to mock, and stayed to admire. Rossini was, after all, a fine composer, and Schubert acknowledges this even in the middle of his own misfortune and disappointment.

During this period of their collaboration Schubert was closer to Schober than at any other time. He left Wipplingerstrasse and moved into his friend’s dwelling (now 9 Spiegelgasse, on the corner of Göttweigergasse) where he stayed on and off until the summer of 1823. Not unnaturally there is a group of Schober songs from this period, all of which are on this disc. These are the vocal quartet Frühlingsgesang (9), Todesmusik (14) and Schatzgräbers Begehr (17). In quantity they are no match for the Mayrhofer settings which had been composed as a result of Schubert’s spell of living with that poet, and we might ask ourselves whether Schubert worked as hard during this period as he might have done in other surroundings. Those who blamed Schober’s influence for the free-and-easy lifestyle which led to Schubert’s contraction of syphilis at the end of 1822 may have despaired of the way that Schubert seemed to have gladly submitted to his friend’s influence. This was considered unwholesome by certain members of the circle long before the sad story of the composer’s illness emerged. Thanks to the efforts of Sonnleithner and Huber, who had engineered the arrangement of selling the composer’s songs on commission to Diabelli, Schubert should have been relatively well off at this time. And we know that he also received money from the dedicatees of his songs. It seems likely that he frittered these funds away, encouraged no doubt by Schober and his extravagant lifestyle. Contemporary accounts by such people as Anton von Spaun attest to the fact that Schubert’s money found its way into the pocket of the poet-librettist who had already exhausted his mother’s fortune. But the composer no doubt was counting his chickens and expected that they would soon both be rich as a result of their new opera.

One of the saddest events of 1822 was Schubert’s ill-advised decision to sell to Diabelli for a lump sum the copyright of the songs which were already in print with that firm on a commission basis. Diabelli (who had the businessman’s knack of approaching composers with financial proposals when they were most in need) did well out of the arrangement, but those of Schubert’s friends, like Sonnleithner, who had gone to a good deal of trouble to put him on his feet financially, were disappointed with his lack of business acumen. He seemed to be throwing away all the hard work they had done on his behalf. In this respect it seems that the composer lived for the moment. The organisational control and discernment which he constantly displayed in the writing of his music seems to have abandoned him in the running of his day-to-day life. It is true that he had only sold Diabelli the rights to works already in print, and although these included some of the best-sellers (Erlkönig for instance), he had endless confidence in the ability to write more—‘plenty more where those came from’ seems to have been the composer’s philosophy—and this indeed was the case. In place of the connection with Diabelli, in the summer of 1822 Schubert negotiated a new agreement with the publishers Sauer & Leidesdorf whereby he would provide them with works over a two-year period in return for an annual fee. Although the composer had a great personal respect for Maximillian Leidesdorf, this too proved to be an unsatisfactory arrangement. Of the songs on this disc, Sei mir gegrüsst, Die Liebe hat gelogen and Der Musensohn were published by this firm. Schubert was never again to be as well off as he had been in 1821 when his affairs were properly managed; his financial difficulties in 1822 must have added to his sense of disappointment—these years had not been quite the triumphant turning point in his life that he had expected.

One of Schubert’s new friends from 1821 was the painter Moritz von Schwind, then only seventeen years old. A diary entry by Eduard von Bauernfeld tells us that Schubert was present at a party with Schwind at the home of one Vincentius Weintridt on the evening of 22 January 1822. Bauernfeld was only to get to know the composer well some years later, but we see in this diary entry the beginning of the second wave of Schubertians who were to be part of the later years of the composer’s life. The old group of contemporaries which had its beginnings in the composer’s school years was beginning to break up. Spaun had already left Vienna (we know from a letter to Schober that Spaun felt the composer had dropped him, and he was hurt by this); Schober was to leave Vienna in 1823; Kupelwieser was to get married and more or less leave the circle; there were difficulties with Mayrhofer, and Bruchmann was to recant his association with what he came to think of as a group of morally lax young men. Both Schwind and Bauernfeld were much younger than Schubert and were to prove good and faithful friends, but Schwind in particular was attached to Schubert who, we are told, referred to Schwind as his ‘beloved’—although this is qualified in the sources by ‘jokingly’. In 1825 Schwind was to write to Schober about Schubert: ‘We meet every day, and as far as I can I share his entire life with him.’

Companionship was always important to Schubert, though he was choosy about his friends. There were almost certainly further summer days of conviviality in Atzenbrugg. From 3 July of this year comes an extraordinary Schubert document entitled ‘Mein Traum’, ‘My Dream’. In the summer of 1822 it was very possible that Schubert was away from home with his friends, and John Reed believes that this document might have been written in the context of the party games that were played at Atzenbrugg, although it is well nigh impossible to think of a game which might have prompted a serious written confessional of this kind. The dream (pp 227/8 in the Documentary Biography) recounts in high-flown prose how the composer felt different from his brothers, and how he was banished from his father’s sight on two occasions—first when he could not eat the dishes of his father’s banquet, and later because he refused to admire his father’s garden, which he found repulsive. His father struck him and he fled—‘For many and many a year I sang songs. Whenever I attempted to sing of love, it turned to pain. And again, when I tried to sing of pain, it turned to love.’ This seems to mean that Schubert’s father wanted him to be sexually conformist. Otto Erich Deutsch, who was perhaps too conservative to countenance the theories of Freud, his fellow Viennese, had little time for the interpretation of this dream by psychoanalysts, and it remains a moot point as to how seriously this fragment should be taken by the scholars. ‘My Dream’ is discussed at greater length in the introduction to Volume 8 of this series, where it is given a Jungian interpretation. Deutsch, noting that the style owes something to Novalis, writes that ‘this figment is merely the literary effusion of a contemporary of German romanticism’. It is true that Schubert had read Novalis extensively in 1820, but the style of recounting the dream (Schubert tended to write derivative poetry in a slightly inept literary style, particularly at times of crisis, or when he was depressed) does not necessarily invalidate its substance.

There is another curious document from November which has aroused less controversy. This is an album leaf which Schubert wrote for Albert Schellmann, a gifted young musician who sometimes accompanied Vogl. On one side of the leaf Schubert writes:

Vienna, 28 November 1822
Wer nicht liebt Wein, Mädchen und Gesang
Bleibt ein Narr sein Lebenlang.
Martin Luther Zum ewigen Andenke
Who loves not wine, maidens and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.
Martin Luther For eternal remembrance
Franz Schubert

(This quotation should read ‘Wein, Weib und Gesang’—‘wine, woman and song’—and does not in fact derive from Luther at all.)

On the other side of the paper Schubert quotes the second strophe of Goethe’s Beherzigung, a poem which he did not set himself but which was later set by Hugo Wolf:

Eines schickt sich nicht für alle!
Sehe jeder, wie er’s treibe,
Sehe jeder. wo er bleibe,
Und wer steht, dass er nicht falle!
Goethe Zur Erinnerung
One thing will not suit for all
Let each see how he shall do it,
Let each see where he shall stay
And he who stands, that he not fall!
Goethe For remembrance

Of course no one has taken much notice of these two inscriptions. Many a cliché has been penned in many an autograph album, and the quotations written here seem to be generally suited to that purpose. However, in the light of Schubert’s dream, the two statements, written recto and verso, take on a certain significance, unless we are to believe that this album leaf merely represents the first two quotations that came into Schubert’s head. ‘Father’ Luther (or so Schubert supposed) proposes a statement in which those who do not enjoy wine, women and song are fools. This is the conventional wisdom; indeed it is so conventional that one wonders that the composer should have attached the words ‘Zum ewigen Andenken’ to such a banal phrase. In his dream, Schubert was punished for rejecting his own father’s concepts of normality—the delightful banquet, the beautiful garden. The first verse of Goethe’s Beherzigung is a series of questions: ‘Ah, what is man to desire? Is it better to stay quiet? To hang on, clasping tight? Is it better to press on?’ (That Schubert knew this poem, presumably by heart, is an indication of his close study of the poet’s work at this stage of his life.) By writing the last verse of this poem on the other side of the page, the composer seems to be saying ‘on the other hand’, proposing to the young Schellmann an opposite point of view as a type of counterpoint: he that does not love wine, women and song—conventional conviviality, or conventional sexuality perhaps—may be considered a fool (or worse) by others, but he has the right to live his life in his own way. Nevertheless he has to be careful if he chooses an alternative way, that he does not fall into disgrace in the process. This sounds remarkably like wise counsel from an older, and more experienced, friend. Schellman, who had eight sisters, was one of the eleven children of Albert Schellmann from Steyr. Schubert had stayed in their house in 1819 during his two-month stay in that town with Vogl, and he seemed to have remained in contact with him. We do not know much about Schellmann apart from the fact that he revered Schubert and that he was sometimes Vogl’s piano accompanist. If Schubert’s quotations were meant to be taken together, and then read between the lines, it shows us at the very least a man who had no taste for drinking and carousing in the company of Philistines, a man sympathetic to those who chose a different path. It could also be a souvenir of a more intimate friendship between the composer and Albert Schellmann. It is exactly at this time that Franz von Bruchmann, an important member of the Schubert circle, was in touch with August von Platen, an incontestably homosexual poet, over the composer’s settings of two of Platen’s poems.

A number of the other documents from 1822 are concerned with Josef Hüttenbrenner’s attempts to act on Schubert’s behalf, firstly with Franz Ignaz von Holbein, Intendant of the Prague opera house, in relation to a performance of Des Teufels Lustschloss, an early opera from 1814. Hüttenbrenner unsuccessfully offered this work to a number of Viennese theatres, as well as to Munich. His enthusiasm for the piece may have had something to do with the fact that he believed he owned the rights to the opera because Schubert had given him the manuscript as payment for a small debt. He was also in touch with the publisher C F Peters in Leipzig who wrote a long letter to Hüttenbrenner in which he expressed a guarded interest in Schubert’s work, at the same time pointing out how many more famous composers there were on his list. In the end, the firm of Peters published nothing by Schubert until the 1870s.

In terms of song, 1822 was a relatively rich year. Of course there is no comparison with years like 1815 and 1816 in terms of quantity, but the composer was now much more selective about which poems he chose to set. The works which were probably composed at some time during 1822 include Ihr Grab (16), An die Leier, Im Haine, Sei mir gegrüsst (8), Der Wachtelschlag (10), Selige Welt (15), Schwanengesang, Die Rose, Am See. Die Liebe hat gelogen was written sometime before April. Nachtviolen dates from April, as do the two Heliopolis songs. Du liebst mich nicht (13) is from July, Todesmusik (14) was written in September, and Schatzgräbers Begehr (17) in November. Schwestergruss dates from the same month. At the end of the year there is another Goethe ‘festival’, with only a handful of songs but all important ones. December 1822 saw the composition of Der Musensohn (18), An die Entfernte (20), Am Flusse (19), and Wilkommen und Abschied (21). Wandrers Nachtlied is also thought to have been composed at this time. One work alone written in this year assures the composer of immortality—the so-called ‘Unfinished’ Symphony which was begun on 30 October. From the same period is the Wanderer Fantasy for piano.

Publications in 1822 included Opp 8 to 14, more or less keeping up the same momentum of seven works per year that had been established in 1821, although there are now two new genres—dances for piano, and male-voice quartets with piano accompaniment:

Opus8: published May 1822: Der Jüngling auf dem Hügel, D702 (Hüttenbrenner) [November 1820]; Sehnsucht, D516 (Mayrhofer) [1817?]; Erlafsee, D586 (Mayrhofer) [March 1817]; Am Strome, D539 (Mayrhofer) [March 1817].
Opus9: published in November 1821: Original-Tänze (36 waltzes in two books), D365.
Opus10: published in April 1822: Variationen über ein französiches Lied for piano duet, dedicated to Beethoven, D624.
Opus11: published June 1822: Gesänge für 4 Männerstimmen mit Begleitung des Pianoforte oder der Gitare: Das Dörfchen, D598 (Burger) [December 1817]; Die Nachtigall, D724 (Unger) [April 1821 or earlier]; Geist der Liebe, D747 (Matthisson) [January 1822].

In December 1822 three opus numbers were issued simultaneously:

Opus12: Gesänge des Harfners aus ‘Wilhelm Meister’ (Goethe), D478, formerly including 480, 479 [composed in 1816 and 1822].
Opus13: Der Schäfer und der Reiter, D517 (Fouqué) [April 1817]; Lob der Tränen, D711 (A. von Schlegel) [1818?]; Der Alpenjäger, D524 (Mayrhofer) [January 1817].
Opus14: Suleika I, D720 (von Willemer/Goethe) [March 1821]; Geheimes, D719 (Goethe) [March 1821].

This magnificent crop of songs must have made Schubert more famous among musical people in Vienna than ever before. It is notable that Schubert had probably heard from Schober that Josef von Spaun in Linz was upset with him, and on 7 December 1822 he wrote a beautiful letter to his old friend, offering him the dedication of the songs Op 13. The composer, who makes every effort to smooth Spaun’s ruffled feathers, seems in good spirits, and gossips about various musical matters in Vienna including Konradin Kreutzer’s opera Libussa which he did not much admire. There has been a reconciliation with Vogl, so the bad feeling about the rejection of Alfonso und Estrella had been somewhat overcome. He tells Spaun that there are readings at Schober’s house three times a week—parties with a literary rather a musical emphasis, although it is probable that some of these gatherings turned into spontaneous Schubertiads. These readings were of enormous importance in introducing Schubert to the most interesting new literature and poetry. Schubert’s closeness to Schober at the time is demonstrated by the dedication of the Opus 14 songs.

Those days in December were among the very last that Schubert would spend free from the spectre of disease and death. The appearance of his books of songs at the end of the year could not be have been very much before the manifestations of the first symptoms of syphilis, the illness which was to blight the rest of his life. That story, however, properly belongs to the events of 1823. Within two years the composer had changed from a young man certain of his imminent success, and full of energy and promise, into someone who had suddenly been forced to confront his mortality. The infinitely rewarding prospects which had once been within his reach now seemed to be merely chimeras, the cruellest of jokes.

Graham Johnson © 1997


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