How well, and for how long have these words kept their promise to Schubertians everywhere! Life under Metternich was uncomfortable in spiritual terms and Schubert’s music must have seemed a refuge of sanity and goodness. Without freedom of speech and thought, and without the benefit of gas lamp, much less electric light, the musical citizens of Vienna seem not to have gone without enlightenment and radiance. How we envy those first Schubertians their ability to have simply walked through a door and encountered first performances of countless pieces of life-enhancing music, created in many cases specifically for their enjoyment. That lucky band, unaware that it was only thanks to Schubert that many of their names would achieve immortality, were witnesses to, moreover participants in, a miraculous combination of creativity and sociability which is without parallel in the history of music.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1994
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