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Franz Schubert

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(1797 – 1828)

Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer. He wrote some 600 lieder, nine (including the famous “Unfinished Symphony”), liturgical music, operas, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. He is particularly noted for his original melodic and harmonic writing.

Schubert was born on 31st January 1797 into a musically knowledgeable family, and received formal musical training through much of his childhood. While Schubert had a close circle of friends and associates who admired his work (including his teacher Antonio Salieri, and the prominent singer Johann Michael Vogl), wide appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited at best. He was never able to secure adequate permanent employment, and for most of his career he relied on the support of friends and family. He made some money from published works, and occasionally gave private musical instruction. In the last year of his life he began to receive wider acclaim. He died at the age of thirty-one, on 19th November 1828, apparently of complications from syphilis.

Interest in Schubert’s work increased dramatically in the decades following his death. Composers such as Franz Liszt, Robert Schumann, and Felix Mendelssohn discovered, collected, and championed his works in the nineteenth century, as did musicologist George Grove. Schubert is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.

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