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Franz Anton Schubert

born: 20 July 1768
died: 5 March 1827
country: Germany

This composer was a member of a large family of Dresden musicians. He was a double bass player and the brother of Anton Schubert who played the double bass in the Dresden orchestra between 1790 and 1840. Franz became director of the Italian opera in 1808 and royal church composer in 1814. He was a colleague of Weber’s when that composer worked in Dresden. Sadly he is remembered chiefly for a letter he wrote in April 1817 to the publishers Breitkopf und Härtel who had been sent a manuscript of Erlkönig by the authentic Schubert, and returned it as not interesting enough to publish (how can we blame Goethe, a musical amateur, for rejecting Schubert, when Germany’s foremost music publisher was also blind to his talents?). Unfortunately Breitkopf sent the manuscript back to the wrong Franz Schubert who, in turn, wrote them a blistering letter: ‘I beg to state the cantata was never composed by me. I shall retain the same in my possession in order to learn, if possible, who sent you that sort of trash in such an impolite manner, and also to discover the fellow who has thus misused my name.’

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006


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