Franz Schubert  
Franz Schubert

Oil painting of Franz Schubert
by Wilhelm August Rieder (1875)
Franz Schubert, in full Franz Peter Schubert (born January 31, 1797, Himmelpfortgrund, near Vienna [Austria]—died November 19, 1828, Vienna), Austrian composer who bridged the worlds of Classical and Romantic music, noted for the melody and harmony in his songs (lieder) and chamber music. Among other works are Symphony in C Major (The Great; 1828), Symphony in B Minor (Unfinished; 1822), masses, and piano works.

Early life and career
Schubert’s father, Franz Theodor Schubert, was a schoolmaster; his mother, Elisabeth, whose maiden name was Vietz, was in domestic service at the time of her marriage. Franz was their fourth surviving son. His elder brothers were Ignaz, Karl, and Ferdinand, and there was a younger sister, Maria Theresa. The elder Franz Schubert was a man of character who had established a flourishing school. The family was musical and cultivated string quartet playing in the home, the boy Franz playing the viola. He received the foundations of his musical education from his father and his brother Ignaz, continuing later with organ playing and musical theory under the instruction of the parish church organist. In 1808 he won a scholarship that earned him a place in the imperial court chapel choir and an education at the Stadtkonvikt, the principal boarding school for commoners in Vienna, where his tutors were Wenzel Ruzicka, the imperial court organist, and, later, the composer Antonio Salieri, then at the height of his fame. Schubert played the violin in the students’ orchestra, was quickly promoted to leader, and in Ruzicka’s absence conducted. He also attended choir practice and, with his fellow pupils, cultivated chamber music and piano playing.

From the evidence of his school friends, Schubert was inclined to be shy and was reluctant to show his first compositions. His earliest works included a long Fantasia for Piano Duet, a song, several orchestral overtures, various pieces of chamber music, and three string quartets. An unfinished operetta on a text by August von Kotzebue, Der Spiegelritter (The Looking-glass Knight), also belongs to those years. The interest and encouragement of his friends overcame his shyness and eventually brought his work to the notice of Salieri. In 1812 Schubert’s voice broke; he left the college but continued his studies privately with Salieri for at least another three years. During this time he entered a teachers’ training college in Vienna and in the autumn of 1814 became assistant in his father’s school. Rejected for military service because of his short stature, he continued as a schoolmaster until 1818.

The numerous compositions he wrote between 1813 and 1815 are remarkable for their variety and intrinsic worth. They are the products of young genius, still short of maturity but displaying style, originality, and imagination. Besides five string quartets, there were three full-scale masses and three symphonies. His first full-length opera, Des Teufels Lustschloss (The Devil’s Palace of Desire), was finished while he was at the training college. But at this period song composition was his chief, all-absorbing interest. On October 19, 1814, he first set to music a poem by Goethe, “Gretchen am Spinnrade” (“Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel”), from Faust; it was his 30th song and in this masterpiece he created at one stroke the German lied (art song). The following year brought the composition of more than 140 songs.

The many unfinished fragments and sketches of songs left by Schubert provide some insight into the working of his creative mind. Clearly, the primary stimulus was melodic. The words of a poem engendered a tune. Harmony (chordal structure of a composition) and modulation (change of key) were then suggested by the contours of the melody. But the external details of the poet’s scene—natural, domestic, or mythical—prompted such wonderfully graphic images in the accompaniments as the spinning wheel, the ripple of water, or the “shimmering robe” of spring. These features were fully present in the songs of 1815. The years that followed deepened and enriched but did not revolutionize these novel departures in song. During 1815 Schubert also continued to be preoccupied with his ill-fated operas: between May and December he wrote Der vierjährige Posten (A Sentry for Four Years), Fernando, Claudine von Villa Bella, and Die Freunde von Salamanka (The Friends of Salamanca).

At this time Schubert’s outward life was uneventful. Friends of his college days were faithful, particularly Josef von Spanun, who in 1814 introduced him to the poet Johann Mayrhofer. He also induced the young and brilliant Franz von Schober to visit Schubert. Late in 1815 Schober went to the schoolhouse in the Säulengasse, found Schubert in front of a class with his manuscripts piled about him, and inflamed the young composer, a willing listener, with a desire to break free from his duties. In the spring of 1816 Schubert applied for the post of music director in a college at Laibach (now Ljubljana, Slovenia) but was unsuccessful. His friends tried to interest Goethe in the songs and in April 1816 sent a volume of 16 settings to the poet at Weimar. It produced no result. At length, in December 1816, Schober persuaded Schubert to apply for leave of absence. Despite his father’s reluctance, he obtained the leave and subsequently spent eight months with Schober, living in the home of his friend’s widowed mother.

Early in 1817 Schober brought the baritone Johann Michael Vogl to his home to meet Schubert. As a result of this meeting, Vogl’s singing of Schubert’s songs became the rage of the Viennese drawing rooms. His friendships with the Huttenbrenner brothers, Anselm, a composer, and Josef, an amateur musician, and with Josef von Gahy, a pianist with whom he played duets, date from these days. But this period of freedom did not last, and in the autumn of 1817 Schubert returned to his teaching duties. He wrote to his friends of himself as a verdorbener (“frustrated”) musician. The two earlier years had been particularly fruitful. Songs of this period include “Ganymed,” “Der Wanderer,” and the Harper’s Songs from Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister. There were two more symphonies: No. 4 in C Minor, which Schubert himself named the Tragic (1816), and the popular No. 5 in B Flat Major (1816). A fourth mass, in C major, was composed in 1816. The year 1817 is notable for the beginning of his masterly series of piano sonatas. Six were composed at Schober’s home, the finest being No. 7 in E Flat Major and No. 11 in B Major.

Schubert’s years of uncongenial schoolmastering ended in the summer of 1818. His frustrated period in the spring had produced only one substantial work, the Symphony No. 6 in C Major. In the meantime his reputation was growing, however, and the first public performance of one of his works, the Italian Overture in C Major, took place on March 1, 1818, in Vienna. In June he left the city to take up the post of music master to the two daughters of Johann, Count Esterházy, in the family’s summer residence at Zseliz, Hungary. Letters to his friends show him in exuberant spirits, and the summer months were marked by a fresh creative outburst. The piano duets Variations on a French Song in E minor and the Sonata in B Flat Major, sets of dances, songs, and the Deutsche Trauermesse (German Requiem) were completed.

Portrait of Franz Schubert by Franz Eybl (1827)


On his return to Vienna he shared lodgings with Mayrhofer and during the winter months composed the operetta Die Zwillingsbrüder (The Twin Brothers). Although sponsored by Vogl, the production of the work was postponed, and in June 1819 Schubert and Vogl set off for a protracted holiday in the singer’s native district of upper Austria. The composer delighted in the beauty of the countryside and was touched by the enthusiastic reception given everywhere to his music. At Steyr he composed the first of his widely known instrumental compositions, the Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 664, and the celebrated Trout Quintet for piano and strings. The close of 1819 saw him engrossed in songs to poems by his friend Mayrhofer and by Goethe, who inspired the masterly Prometheus.

In June 1820 Die Zwillingsbrüder was performed with moderate success in Vienna, Vogl doubling in the parts of the twin brothers. It was followed by the performance of incidental music for the play Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), given in August of the same year. The lovely, melodious overture became famous as the Rosamunde overture. Schubert was achieving renown in wider social circles than the restricted spheres of friend and patron. The wealthy and influential Sonnleithner family was interested in his development; their son Leopold became a great friend and supporter. At the close of the year 1820, Schubert composed the Quartettsatz (Quartet-Movement) in C Minor, heralding the great string quartets of the middle 1820s, and another popular piece, the motet for female voices on the text of Psalm XXIII. In December 1820 he began the choral setting of Goethe’s Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Song of the Spirits over the Water) for male-voice octet with accompaniment for bass strings, D. 714, completed in February 1821.

All of Schubert’s efforts to publish his own work were fruitless. Early in 1821, however, a few friends offered his song “Erlkönig” (“Erl King” or “Elf King”) on a subscription basis. The response was so successful that enough money was raised for the printing of “Gretchen am Spinnrade” also. Eighteen months later, opus 12 had been reached.

In Vienna the popularity of Schubert’s songs and dance music became so great that concert parties were entirely devoted to them. These parties, called Schubertiaden, were given in the homes of wealthy merchants and civil servants, but the wider worlds of opera and public concerts still eluded him. He worked during August 1821 on a seventh symphony in E Minor and Major, but this, too, was put aside, along with many other unfinished works of the period. His determination to establish himself in opera led him in September and October to spend a short holiday with Schober at St. Pölten, where the friends devoted their energies to the production of a three-act opera, Alfonso und Estrell. It was completed in February 1822 but was never performed. While spending a few days at Atzenbrugg in July 1822, with Schober and other friends, he produced the document called Mein Traum (“My Dream”), describing a quarrel between a music-loving youth and his father. The autumn of 1822 saw the beginning of yet another unfinished composition—not, this time, destined to obscurity: the Symphony in B Minor (Unfinished), which speaks from Schubert’s heart. Two movements and a half-finished scherzo were completed in October and November 1822. In November of the same year Schubert composed a piano fantasia in which the variations are on a theme from his song “Der Wanderer” and completed the Mass in A-flat Major.

At the close of 1822 Schubert contracted a venereal disease, probably syphilis, and the following year was one of illness and retirement. He continued to write almost incessantly. In February 1823 he wrote the Piano Sonata in A Minor, and in April he made another attempt to gain success in Viennese theatres with the one-act operetta Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators), the title being changed later (because of political censorship) to Der häusliche Krieg (Domestic Warfare). The famous work of the year, however, was the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin (“The Fair Maid of the Mill”), representing the epitome of Schubert’s lyrical art. Schubert spent part of the summer in the hospital and probably started work—while still a patient—on his most ambitious opera, Fierrabras. The work was rejected by the directorate of the prestigious Kärntnertor Theatre in Vienna. The year 1823 closed with Schubert’s composition of the music for the play Rosamunde, performed at Vienna in December.

The early months of 1824 were again unhappy. Schubert was ill, penniless, and plagued by a sense of failure. Yet during these months he composed three masterly chamber works: the String Quartet in A Minor, a second string quartet in D Minor containing variations on his song “Der Tod und das Mädchen,” and the Octet in F Major for strings and wind instruments. His dejection is manifest in a letter of March 31, 1824, to the painter Leopold Kupelwieser in which he speaks of himself as “the most unfortunate, the most miserable being in the world.” In desperate need of money, he returned in the summer to his teaching post with the Esterházy family and in May 1824 went again to Zseliz. Once more his health and spirits revived. The period was marked by some magnificent piano duets, the Piano Sonata in C Major (Grand Duo), the Variations on an Original Theme in A-flat Major, and the Divertissement à la hongroise (Hungarian Divertissement).

Although his operas remained unperformed, there were frequent public performances of his songs and part-songs in Vienna during these and the following years. Publication proceeded rapidly, and his financial position, though still strained, was at any rate eased. This is the period of the Lady of the Lake songs, including the once popular but later neglected “Ave Maria.” Instrumental compositions are the piano sonatas in A Minor and in D Major, the latter composed at Badgastein. He sketched a symphony during the summer holiday, in all probability the beginnings of the Symphony in C Major (Great), completed in 1828. New friends Moritz von Schwind, a young painter, and Eduard Bauernfeld, a dramatist, were almost continuously in his company during this period.

Lithograph of Franz Schubert by Josef Kriehuber (1846)


Last years
The resignation of Salieri as imperial Kapellmeister (musical director) in 1824 had led to the promotion of his deputy, Josef Eybler. In 1826 Schubert applied for the vacant post of deputy Kapellmeister, but in spite of strong support by several influential people he was unsuccessful. From then until his death two years later he seems to have let matters drift. Neither by application for professional posts nor submission of operatic work did he seek to establish himself. It can hardly be believed that Schubert was unaware of his exceptional powers; yet, together with an awareness of genius and the realization that it opened doors into cultivated society went the knowledge of his humble birth and upbringing and also of his somewhat uncouth bearing. This self-consciousness made him diffident, reserved, and hesitant. His life was almost entirely devoted to composition, and he derived his livelihood from publishers’ fees and occasional teaching.

The songs of 1826 include the settings of Shakespeare’s “Hark! Hark! the Lark!” and “Who is Silvia?” written during a brief stay in the village of Währing. Three fine instrumental works of this summer and autumn are the last String Quartet in G Major, the Piano Sonata in G Major, and the beginning of the Piano Trio in B Flat Major. In 1827 he composed the first 12 songs of the cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey). Beethoven’s death in 1827 undoubtedly had a profound effect on Schubert, for there is no denying that a more profound, more intellectual quality akin to that in Beethoven’s music appears in his last instrumental works. Some of them, especially the Piano Trio in E-flat Major (1827) and the Piano Sonata in C Minor (1828), suggest the authority of Beethoven, yet his own strong individuality is never submerged. In September 1827 Schubert spent a short holiday in Graz. On his return he composed the Piano Trio in E-flat Major and resumed work on Part II of the Winterreise. This is the period of his piano solos, the Impromptus and Moments musicaux.

A succession of masterpieces marks the last year of his life. Early in the year he composed the greatest of his piano duets, the Fantasy in F Minor. The Great Symphony was concluded in March, as was also the cantata Miriams Siegesgesang (Miriam’s Victory Song). In June he worked at his sixth mass—in E-flat Major. A return to songwriting in August produced the series published together as the Schwanengesang (Swan Song). In September and early October the succession was concluded by the last three piano sonatas, in C Minor, A Major, and B-flat Major, and the great String Quintet in C Major—the swan song of the Classical era in music.

The only public concert Schubert gave took place on March 26, 1828. It was both artistically and financially a success, and the impecunious composer was at last able to buy himself a piano. At the end of August he moved into lodgings with his brother Ferdinand. Schubert’s health, broken by the illness of 1823, had deteriorated, and his ceaseless work had exhausted him. In October he developed typhoid fever as a result of drinking tainted water. His last days were spent in the company of his brother and several close friends.

It is said that Schubert’s place in the history of music is equivocal, for he stands between the worlds of Classical and Romantic music. He can, however, be considered as the last of the great Classical composers. His music, subjectively emotional in the Romantic manner, poetically conceived, and revolutionary in language, is nevertheless cast in the formal molds of the Classical school—with the result that in the 20th century it became increasingly apparent that Schubert more truly belongs to the age of Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart than to that of Schumann, Chopin, and Wagner.

Maurice J.E. Brown


Watercolor of Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder (1825)

Of the great composers associated with Vienna — the others being Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven - Schubert was the only one born in the city, and the only one who failed to achieve international fame in his lifetime. His shyness and lack of instrumental virtuosity contributed to the hardships he endured, but he was responsible for a magnificent body of work that is still appraised and appreciated today.

Born in the suburb of Lichtental, he was the fourth son of a schoolmaster. From his family he learnt the piano and violin, soon outstripping everyone else in the household. At 11 his serious musical education began when he won a choral scholarship to the Konvikt, Vienna's Imperial College. Under Salieri's tutelage he wrote an opera and a series of quartets by the age of 15. He left the college in 1813 to train as a teacher before returning home to work in his father's school. Over the next five years alone, in an inexhaustible surge of creativity, he wrote five symphonies, six operas, and 300 songs (Lieder).

It was through song that Schubert's genius was first recognized. In 1814 he discovered Goethe's Faust, which led to his first masterpiece, Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel). Erlkonig, depicting a terrorized child whose soul is swept away during a ride through a stormy night, followed the next year. The sensibility Goethe had awakened swiftly led Schubert to explore all the great poets of his time and unleashed what has been called "'a Shakespearean canvas of characters." His sense of melody and movement, his unique awareness of changing key and the interplay possible between singer and pianist, his master storyteller's sense of timing and shifting nuance: all these gave the Lied a power that nobody had imagined. "There's not one of Schubert's songs", wrote Brahms, "from which you cannot learn something."

Schubert was fortunate to be born into a Vienna alive with cultural activity and debate. His music seized upon the image of the Romantic hero promulgated in literature and painting. Schubert's artistic world was the land of night and dreams — of Sehnsucht, a longing for the mystic world of the spirit, with the visible everyday world as a mere mirage. The hero, discovering incandescent love before bitter rejection, wanders alone through nature and there finds his solace and strength. These Romantic ideals underlie much of Schubert's work, such as the song Auf dem Waisser zu singen, whose fluttering juxtaposition of major and minor captures a mood of fervour and serenity; or the poetry Schubert prefaced to his symphonies, sonatas, and chamber music.

By 1816 the drudgery of the schoolroom had become unbearable. Schubert abandoned teaching to live in Vienna with Franz von Schober, a friend who worked to spread the composer's reputation and open his eyes to cultural trends. A meeting with leading baritone J.M. Vogl was crucial. He championed many of Schubert's songs, and a visit in 1819 to Vogl's birthplace in the mountains at Steyr liberated in the composer a powerful, happy impulse. There he began the Trout quintet, marking his coming of age in instrumental music. Scored for violin, viola, cello, double-bass, an piano, the quintet takes its name from his earlier song Die Forelle (The Trout), which is the basis of a set of variations in the fourth movement of the quintet.

This is the radiant Schubert everybody thinks they know. Yet our notion of a fat, jolly amateur, leaving his coffeehouse only to dash off another carefree masterpiece, is myth. In reality Schubert died prematurely of a disfiguring disease, his mind poisoned by the idea of the fate that inevitably awaited him.

Schubert contracted syphilis in 1823. It transformed his entire outlook, and while many reasons are put forward for his failure to complete his Eighth symphony, begun the year before his illness, it may be that it marked a period in his life which came to repel him. Nevertheless, he returned to the symphonic form soon afterwards to compose the Symphony No. 9 in С (The Great), a work grander and more profound than any of Schubert's other symphonies.

Some of the stings for his first song-cycle, Die schone Mullerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill), were written while in hospital in 1823. The cycle depicts the ill-fated love of a young man for a miller's daughter. Although it contains much joyful music, its sad ending anticipates the tone of his tragic second cycle, Winterreise (Winter Journey), written in 1827 after four years of illness. In the latter cycle, where the hero has lost his love before the cycle's beginning, the songs create an unrelenting portrait of gloom set in the frozen landscape of death. Yet Schubert was still able to put his morbidity aside, albeit temporarily; 1827 is also the date of several lighter pieces for piano — the Impromptus and the Moments musicaux - which form the ideal introduction to his instrumental music and anticipate the Ballades of Chopin and Brahms, while revealing a greater emotional range than either.

Some of Schubert's finest compositions were written during the last year of his life, including his masterly trio of Piano sonatas in С minor, A major, and Б flat. But the fullest portrait of Schubert's musical personality is the great String quintet in С. Its opening movement is one of the great masterpieces of classical organization; the slow movement alternates between a theme of sublime calmness in E major and a furiously anguished section in F minor; the scherzo (a generally jaunty movement which may take the place of the minuet in a sonata or symphony) has little in common with those of Haydn or Beethoven, but pits a boisterous hunting theme against an apparition as chillingly remote as anything from Winterreise; and the finale ends ambiguously m neither major nor minor. As always in mature Schubert, the sunshine is more intense for being inseparable from an awareness of the dark. Soon after completing the Quintet Schubert entered the final phase of his illness, and in December 1828 died at the age of 31.


Franz Schubert. Portrait by Gabor Melegh, 1825


Dr. Carlyn G. Morenus
3 piano pieces "Drei Klavierstucke"
Allegro assai - Andante - Tempo I - Andantino - Tempo I (E-flat minor) 
Allegretto (E-flat major)

Allegro (C major)

Serg van Gennip
Wanderer Fantasie D. 760
Sonate in G Major, D894 
part 3,4
Sonate in G Major, D894 
Impromptu in B flat D935
Impromptu in As maj. op.142

Mikhail Mordvinov with Philharmonic Orchestra Zwickau
Moment musical No. 1 in C - Moderato


Ave Maria
Bortoluzzi, Pierluigi
Ave Maria


Seymour Lipkin, piano
Impromptu in G-flat Major for piano, D.899/3 (Op. 90, No. 3)
Impromptu in F minor, Op. 142, No. 4 
Piano Sonata No. in A minor, D. 845, Op. 42

Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960 
Piano Sonata in B Major, Op. 147

Aviram Reichart
Sonata in A minor D. 784 
Allegro giusto
Allegro vivace

Sonata in C minor D. 958 

Columbia University Orchestra
Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished"
Allegro moderato
Andante con moto


Jay Carter


The Best of Schubert
The Best of Schubert
"Symphony No. 3 in D major"
1. Adagio maestoso - Allegro con brio
2. Allegretto 9:54
3. Minuetto 15:20
4. Presto vivace 19:40
"Symphony No. 5 in B flat major"
5. Allegro 26:43
6. Andante con moto 33:47
7. Minuetto. Allegro molto 46:26
8. Allegro vivace 52:08
"Symphony No. 8 in B minor - Unfinished"
9. Allegro moderato 58:11
10. Andante con moto 1:11:47
11. Serenade "Leise flehen meine" 1:22:11
"Moment Musical op. 94 D 780"
12. No. 1 Moderato in C major 1:26:42
13. No. 2 Andantino in A flat major 1:29:44
14. No. 3 Allegro moderato in F minor 1:35:20
15. No. 4 Moderato in C sharp minor 1:36:53
16. No. 5 Allegro vivace in F minor 1:40:44
17. No. 6in A flat major 1:42:43
18. "Polonaise" in B flat major D 580 1:47:46
19. Piano sonata n. 19 in B flat D 960 1:50:37
20. Scherzo No. 1 1:53:51
21. "Rosamunde" Intermezzo in B flat major 1:57:56
22. Ave Maria 2:07:59
Schubert: Death and the Maiden Quartett for Strings
Der Tod und das Mädchen / Death and the Maiden / A halál és a lányka
Quartett for Strings
Arrangement: Gustav Mahler (1860--1911)

00:00 1.movement: Allegro
15:37 2.movement: Andante con moto
26:27 3.movement: Scherzo: Allegro molto
30:23 4.movement: Presto

Schubert Symphony No 1 D major Maazel Bavarian RSO
Symphony No. 1 in D major, D. 82
Lorin Maazel conducts Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
I. Adagio - Allegro vivace
II. Andante in G major 9:50
III. Menuetto. Allegro 16:40
IV. Allegro vivace 20:58
Schubert Symphony No 2 B flat major Maazel Bavarian RSO
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major, D. 125
Lorin Maazel conducts Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
I. Largo - Allegro vivace
II. Andante in E flat major 9:50
III. Menuetto: Allegro vivace in C minor - Trio in E flat major 17:40
IV. Presto 21:03
Schubert: Symphony No.3 - Jansons/RCO(2007Live)
Symphony No.3 in D major, D.200
Mariss Jansons
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 8 2/2007
F. Schubert - Symphony No. 4 "Tragic" in C minor, D. 417 (Harnoncourt)
Symphony No. 4 "Tragic" in C minor, D. 417 (1816):
1. Adagio molto - Allegro vivace
2. Andante in A flat major
3. Menuetto. Allegro vivace - Trio in E flat major
4. Allegro

Conductor - Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Wiener Philharmoniker
Musikvereinssaal Wien

Schubert: Symphony no. 5 in B flat major | Marc Minkowski
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Conducted by Marc Minkowski

Directed by Jean-Pierre Loisil

Franz Schubert - Symphony No.6 in C-major, D.589 "Little" (1818)
Symphony No.6 in C-major, D.589 (1818)

Mov.I: Adagio - Allegro 00:00
Mov.II: Andante 09:45
Mov.III: Scherzo: Presto 18:06
Mov.IV: Allegro moderato 24:34

Orchestra: Failoni Orchestra

Conductor: Michael Halász

The Symphony No. 6 in C major, D. 589, is a symphony by Franz Schubert composed between October 1817 and February 1818. Its first public performance was in Vienna in 1828. It is nicknamed the "Little C major" to distinguish it from his later Ninth Symphony, also in C major, which is known as "the Great."

Franz Schubert - Symphony No.7 in D-major, D.708a (1820/21)
Symphony No.7 in D-major, D.708a (1820/21) completed by Brian Newbould.

Mov.I: Allegro vivace 00:00
Mov.II: Andante con moto 10:44
Mov.III: Scherzo & Trio: Allegro vivace 18:36
Mov.IV: Presto 26:35

Orchestra: BBC Philhamonic Orchestra

Conductor: Juanjo Mena

Symphony No. 8 in В minor ("The Unfinished") - 1822
Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D.759 (sometimes renumbered as Symphony No. 7, in accordance with the revised Deutsch catalogue and the Neue Schubert-Ausgabe), commonly known as the "Unfinished Symphony" (German: Unvollendete), was started in 1822 but left with only two movements known to be complete, even though Schubert would live for another six years. A scherzo, nearly completed in piano score but with only two pages orchestrated, also survives. It has long been theorized that Schubert may have sketched a finale which instead became the big B minor entr'acte from his incidental music to Rosamunde, but all the evidence for this is circumstantial. One possible reason for Schubert's leaving the symphony incomplete is the predominance of the same meter (triple meter). The first movement is in 3/4, the second in 3/8 and the third (an incomplete scherzo) also in 3/4. Three consecutive movements in basically the same meter rarely occur in symphonies, sonatas or chamber works of the most important Viennese composers.

Schubert, Symphony No. 8, third movement, first page, facsimile, 1885, in J. R. von Herbeck's biography

Schubert's eighth symphony is sometimes called the first Romantic symphony due to its emphasis on expressive melody, vivid harmony and creative combinations of orchestral tone color despite the architecturally imposing Classical structures of its two completed movements highlighted by the dramatically climactic development section of the first movement based solely on its quietly sinister opening theme.

To this day, musicologists still disagree as to why Schubert failed to complete the symphony. Some have speculated that he stopped working on it in the middle of the scherzo in the fall of 1822 because it was associated in his mind with the initial outbreak of syphilis, or simply that he was distracted by the inspiration for his Wanderer Fantasy for solo piano which occupied his time and energy immediately afterward; or perhaps a combination of both factors.

Early history

In 1823, the Graz Music Society gave Schubert an honorary diploma. He felt obliged to dedicate a symphony to them in return, and sent his friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, a leading member of the Society, an orchestral score he had written in 1822 consisting of the two completed movements of the Unfinished plus at least the first two pages of the start of a scherzo. This much is known.

What is not known, and will almost certainly never be known, is how much of the symphony Schubert actually wrote, and how much of what he did write he gave to Hüttenbrenner. The following exists: the first two movements complete in full score, the first two pages of a scherzo in full score. The rest of the scherzo (except for the missing second strain of the trio) existed in a separate manuscript in short score (not sent to Hüttenbrenner but found among Schubert's copious manuscripts after his death which were carefully preserved by his devoted schoolteacher brother Ferdinand), but nothing of any fourth movement. A fourth movement finale in the home key (B minor) would have been the norm for any symphony written at that time, but there is no direct evidence that Schubert ever started work on it. It has, however, been surmised that the most extended Entr'acte from Rosamunde (also in B minor, in the same style of the first movement and with the same instrumentation as the symphony) was indeed that fourth movement, which Schubert recycled by inserting it into his Rosamunde incidental music composed in early 1823 just after the Wanderer Fantasy. The Schubert scholar Brian Newbould, who harmonized, orchestrated and conjecturally completed the piano sketch of the scherzo, believed this to be true; but not all scholars agree. Pages appear to have been torn out after the beginning of the scherzo in the full score sent to Hüttenbrenner, in any event.

The fact that Hüttenbrenner neither had the work performed nor made the society aware he even had the manuscript, is curious and has led to various theories. Was he given an incomplete score by Schubert and was waiting for the remainder to arrive before saying anything? If so, he waited in vain throughout the six remaining years of Schubert's life. After Schubert's premature death in 1828 (of typhus as a complication of syphilis), why didn't Hüttenbrenner then make the existence of the manuscript known? Do the torn pages suggest he had somehow damaged the piece and managed to lose, or even inadvertently destroy, the last two movements? Was guilt therefore the reason he kept silent about the work's existence for 37 years after Schubert died? Could personality factors like introvertedness or jealousy have been at play here? Old age and approaching death seem to have influenced Hüttenbrenner to reveal the work to an important and gracious visitor at long last (in 1865, when he was 76 and had only three more years to live). This was the conductor Johann von Herbeck, who premiered the extant two movements on 17 December 1865 in Vienna, adding the brilliantly busy but expressively lightweight perpetual-motion last movement of Schubert's 3rd Symphony in D major, as an inadequate finale, expressively quite incompatible with the monumental first two movements of the Unfinished. The performance was nevertheless received with great enthusiasm by the audience. The score of those two movements was not published before 1867.

The Unfinished Symphony has been called No. 7 (recently, for example, in the New Schubert Edition) instead of No. 8 as it usually is, since the other work sometimes referred to as Schubert's 7th (in E major, completed by Felix Weingartner) was also left incomplete but in a different way, with at least fragments of all four of its movements in Schubert's hand.

The completed portion
In sonata form, opening softly in the strings followed by a theme shared by the solo oboe and clarinet. A typically laconic Schubertian transition consists of just four measures for the two horns, effectively modulating to the submediant key of G major (mm. 38-41). The second subject begins with a celebrated lyrical melody in that key, stated first by the celli and then by the violins (sometimes drolly sung to Sigmund Spaeth's words as "This is ... the sym - phoneee ... that Schubert wrote but never fin-ished") to a gentle syncopated accompaniment. This is interrupted by a dramatic closing group alternating heavy tutti sforzandi interspersed with pauses and developmental variants of the G major melody, ending the exposition.

An important moment in the first movement occurs in measure 109 (and is repeated in the recapitulation in measure 327). In these measures, Schubert holds a tonic 'B' pedal in the second bassoon and first horn under the dominant F♯ chord, that evokes the end of the development in Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. Unfortunately, a well-meaning but inexperienced editor removed this dissonance by altering the second bassoon and first horn part. Conductors must check these parts carefully to make sure that the 'B' pedal is intact.

Unusual for sonata form, the development section begins with a quiet restatement of the opening theme in the subdominant (E minor) (a tonality usually reserved for near the end of a sonata form movement somewhere in the recap or coda) and rises to a prolonged climax in the same key starting with a dramatic variant of the first theme in the full orchestra with prominent trombones, the expected relative (D) major of the tonic (B) minor first appearing only at the end of that climax and then again for the second subject of the recap (in place of the expected tonic B major) instead of much earlier, in the second subject of the exposition, as customary. The flutes and oboes then resume their melodic role at the end of that dramatic outburst, transitioning to the recapitulation.

The recapitulation consists mostly of orthodox sonata-form restatement of the themes except that the melodious second theme is restated in the mediant D major instead of the expected B major (parallel to the tonic B minor), but the dramatic closing section does end in B major, and leads to a coda in the tonic B minor recalling the opening theme for still another, final, dramatic reworking to pave the way for the emphatic concluding chords.

Second movement: Andante con moto in E major
The second movement alternates two contrasting themes in sonatina form (sonata form without development, with a quietly dramatic, elegiac, extended coda that could be characterized as a concluding development section). The lyrical first is introduced by the horns, low strings, brass and high strings playing in counterpoint. The plaintive second, in minor, after four simple unharmonized notes in transition spelling out the tonic chord of the relative C-sharp minor quietly by the first violins, begins in the solo clarinet in C-sharp minor and continues in the solo oboe in C-sharp major in an example of the major-minor juxtapositions that are a hallmark of Schubert's harmonic language. A dramatic closing theme in the full orchestra returns to C-sharp minor but ends in D-flat major (the enharmonic equivalent of C-sharp major). A short transition back to the tonic E major ushers in the recapitulation, notable for the restatement of the second theme in the subdominant A minor (instead of the expected tonic parallel E minor) begun by the oboe and continued by the clarinet (vice versa to their roles in the exposition). The coda starts with a new theme that is simply an extension of the two-bar E major cadential figure opening the movement. This gives way to the laconic triadic first-violin transition motto leading to a restatement of the first theme by the woodwinds in distant A-flat major followed by the motto again leading back to the tonic E major for a final extended transformation of the first theme, leading in term to a final extended version of the opening cadential figure that reappears to close.

Third and fourth movements
The fragment of the scherzo intended as the third movement returns to the tonic B minor, with a G major trio. The first thirty measures are preserved in full score, but the entire rest of the scherzo proper (both strains) only in short score. Only the first strain of the trio exists, and that as a mere unadorned, unharmonized single melodic line. The second strain is entirely absent.

After Hüttenbrenner's release of the two completed movements of the Unfinished to Herbeck, some music historians and scholars took much trouble to "prove" the composition complete even in the truncated two-movement form, and indeed that abbreviated structure alone has captivated the listening public to consider it as one of Schubert's most cherished compositions. The fact that classical tradition was unlikely to accept that a symphony could end in a different key from the one it began in (with the B minor first movement and the E major finale by default incomplete), and the even more undeniable fact that Schubert had begun a third movement in B minor (of which the score he gave to Hüttenbrenner included precisely 30 bars of fully orchestrated scherzo and 112 succeeding bars in short score), stands against the view that the two completed movements are self-sufficient and can legitimately stand alone by themselves.

Reviewing the premiere of the symphony in 1865, the music critic Eduard Hanslick wrote: "When, after a few introductory bars, clarinet and oboe sound una voce a sweet melody on top of the quiet murmuring of the strings, any child knows the composer and a half-suppressed exclamation "Schubert" runs hummingly through the hall. He has hardly entered, but it is as if you knew his steps, his very way of opening the door... The whole movement is a sweet stream of melodies, in spite of its vigor and geniality so crystal-clear that you can see every pebble on the bottom. And everywhere the same warmth, the same golden sunshine that makes buds grow! The Andante unfolds itself broadly and [even] more majestically [than the opening Allegro]. Sounds of lament or anger rarely enter this song full of intimate, quiet happiness, clouds of a musical thunderstorm reflecting musical effect rather than dangerous passion... The sonorous beauty of both movements is enchanting. With a few horn passages, an occasional brief clarinet or oboe solo on the simplest, most natural basis of orchestration, Schubert achieves sound effects which no refinement of Wagner's instrumentation ever attains" (translated from the original German).

He ended by stressing that the symphony is among Schubert's most beautiful instrumental works.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Schubert: Unfinished Symphony No.8
Symphony in b minor, No.8, D.759
Staatskapelle Dresden
Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)

00:00 1st movement: Allegro moderato - Part1: exposition
03:26 1st movement: Allegro moderato - Part1: exposition-reprise
06:50 1st movement: Allegro moderato - Part2: dev., recap.
14:51 2nd movement-Andante con moto

Schubert: Great Symphony No.9
Great Symphony in C major, No.9, D.944
Published in 1840 as "Symphony No.7 in C Major"
Staatskapelle Dresden
Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)

00:00 1st movement: Andante
04:21 1st movement: Allegro ma non troppo1: exposition (no reprise)
07:14 1st movement: Allegro ma non troppo2: development, recapitulation
14:22 2nd movement: Andante con moto
31:11 3rd movement: Scherzo I. (with reprise)
32:45 3rd movement: Scherzo II. (with no reprise)
35:21 3rd movement: Trio I-II. (with reprises)
39:58 3rd movement: Scherzo da capo (with no reprise)
43:25 4th movement: Allegro vivace - Part1 (with no reprise)
47:25 4th movement: Allegro vivace - Part2

Schubert - Complete Impromptus (Murray Perahia)
4 Impromptus, D. 899 / Op. 90

00:00 ➢ No. 1 in C minor, Allegro molto moderato
10:15 ➢ No. 2 in E-flat major, Allegro
14:57 ➢ No. 3 in G-flat major, Andante
21:05 ➢ No. 4 in A-flat major, Allegretto

4 Impromptus, D. 935 / Op. 142

28:40 ➢ No. 1 in F minor, Allegro moderato
38:26 ➢ No. 2 in A-flat major, Allegretto
45:20 ➢ No. 3 in B-flat major, Andante & variations
56:15 ➢ No. 4 in F minor, Allegro scherzando

Schubert Piano Sonata No 15 C major D 840 'Reliquie' - Richter Paris 1961
Piano sonata n°15 D.840 "Reliquie"

I. Moderato 0:00
II. Andante 19:05
III. Menuetto. Allegretto 28:43
IV. Rondo. Allegro 35:03

Sviatoslav Richter
Studio recording, Paris, 19-20.X.1961

Schubert - S. Richter - Sonata No 17 in D, D 850
Sviatoslav Richter Schubert Sonata 21, 9, 6 & 18
Schubert - Sonata No. 21 in B-flat major, D. 960 (Maria João Pires)
Published on Aug 13, 2012
00:00 ➢ Molto moderato
20:33 ➢ Andante sostenuto
29:48 ➢ Scherzo: Allegro vivace con delicatezza - Trio
34:20 ➢ Allegro, ma non troppo - Presto
Franz Schubert - Die Schöne Müllerin
Composer: Franz Peter Schubert (31 January 1797 -- 19 November 1828)
- Performers: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Gerald Moore (piano)
- Year of recording: 1961

Die schöne Müllerin (Op. 25, D. 795), is a song cycle on poems by Wilhelm Müller, written in 1823.

00:00:00 - xx. "Prolog" (Der Dichter, als Prolog)
00:02:45 - 01. "Das Wandern" ("Wandering Miller"; B-flat major)
00:05:06 - 02. "Wohin?" ("Where to?"; G major)
00:07:19 - 03. "Halt!" ("Stop!"; C major)
00:08:53 - 04. "Danksagung an den Bach" ("A Song of Thanks to the Brook"; G major)
00:11:16 - 05. "Am Feierabend" ("Rest at the End of the Day"; A minor)
00:13:50 - 06. "Der Neugierige" ("The Inquisitive One"; B major)
00:18:05 - 07. "Ungeduld" ("Impatience"; A major)
00:20:47 - 08. "Morgengruß" ("Good morning"; C major)
00:25:11 - 09. "Des Müllers Blumen" ("The miller's flowers"; A major)
00:28:33 - 10. "Tränenregen" ("Shower of tears"; A major)
00:32:33 - 11. "Mein!" ("Mine!"; D major)
00:34:54 - 12. "Pause" ("Interlude"; B-flat major)
00:39:23 - 13. "Mit dem grünen Lautenbande" ("With the green lute-riband"; B-flat major)
00:41:20 - 14. "Der Jäger" ("The hunter"; C minor)
00:42:28 - 15. "Eifersucht und Stolz" ("Jealousy and pride"; G minor)
00:44:02 - 16. "Die liebe Farbe" ("The Beloved colour"; B minor)
00:48:08 - 17. "Die böse Farbe" ("The Evil colour"; B major)
00:50:09 - 18. "Trockne Blumen" ("Withered flowers"; E minor)
00:53:34 - 19. "Der Müller und der Bach" ("The miller and the brook"; G minor)
00:57:27 - 20. "Des Baches Wiegenlied" ("The brook's lullaby"; E major)
01:03:08 - xx. "Epilog" (Der Dichter, als Epilog)

Die Schöne Müllerin is the earliest extended song cycle to be widely performed. The work is considered one of Schubert's most important, and it is widely performed and recorded. It is performed by a pianist and a solo singer. The vocal part falls in the range of a tenor or soprano voice, but is often sung by other voices, transposed to a lower range. Since the story of the cycle is about a young man, the work is most often sung by men. The piano part bears much of the expressive burden of the work, and is only seldom a mere "accompaniment" to the singer.

Müller's poems were published in 1820, and Schubert set most of them to music between May and September 1823, while he was also writing his opera Fierrabras. He was 26 years old at the time. Schubert omitted several of the poems, such as a prologue and an epilogue delivered by the poet. The work was published in 1824 under the title Die schöne Müllerin, ein Zyklus von Liedern, gedichtet von Wilhelm Müller, which means, "The Lovely Maid of the Mill, a song cycle to poems by Wilhelm Müller".

The cycle is occasionally referred to as the "Müllerlieder", the Müller songs, a term used by the composer once in a letter. This is not especially useful nomenclature, since Schubert's later and equally celebrated song cycle Winterreise is also a setting of poems by Müller.

There are twenty songs in the cycle, around half in simple strophic form, and they move from cheerful optimism to despair and tragedy. At the beginning of the cycle, a young journeyman miller wanders happily through the countryside. He comes upon a brook, which he follows to a mill. He falls in love with the miller's beautiful daughter (the "Müllerin" of the title). She is out of his reach as he is only a journeyman. He tries to impress her, but her response seems tentative. The young man is soon supplanted in her affections by a hunter clad in green, the color of a ribbon he gave the girl. In his anguish, he experiences an obsession with the color green, then an extravagant death fantasy in which flowers sprout from his grave to express his undying love. (See Beethoven's Adelaide for a similar fantasy.) In the end, the young man despairs and drowns himself in the brook. The last number is a lullaby sung by the brook. The question remains: is the brook really the miller's friend or is it a fiend, like Mephistopheles in the Faust legend, who leads the miller to his downfall and destruction?

Included in this performance is a spoken Prolog and Epilog, read by Dietrich Fischer-Diekau. These are poems by Müller that weren't set on music by Schubert. One can argue if these poems should be included in Schubert's Müllerin cycle, but I included them anyway so you can judge for yourself if you like their presence or not.

Dietrich Fischer Dieskau & Andras Schiff - Schubert "Die schöne Müllerin" op. 25 D 795
Dietrich Fischer Dieskau - vocal
Andras Schiff - piano
Schubert-Die Winterreise D 911
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: baritone-Gerald Moore: piano-1962-1 Gute Nacht 2 Die Wetterfanne 3 Gefrorene Tränen 4 Erstarrung 5 Der Lindenbaum 6 Wasserflut 7 Auf dem Flusse 8 Rückblick 9 Irrlicht 10 Rast 11 Frühlingstraum 12 Einsamkeit 13 Die Post 14 Der greise Kopf 15 Die Krähe 16 Letzte Hoffnung 17 Im Dorfe 18 Der stürmische Morgen 19 Täuschung 20 Der Wegweiser 21 Das Wirtshaus 22 Mut 23 Die Nebensonnen 24 Der Leiermann
Rosamunde - 1823
Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern (Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus) is a play by Helmina von Chézy, which is primarily remembered for the incidental music which Franz Schubert composed for it. Music and play premiered in Vienna's Theater an der Wien on 20 December 1823.

The play

The text version of von Chézy's original play, in four acts, as premiered with Schubert's music, is lost. However, a later modified version of the play, in five acts, was discovered in the State Library of Württemberg, and was published in 1996. Fragmentary autograph sources relating to the first version of the play have been recovered too.

The story concerns the attempt of Rosamunde, who was brought up incognito as a shepherdess by the mariner's widow Axa, to reclaim her throne. The long-established governor Fulgentius (Fulvio in the revised version), who already has Rosamunde's parents on his conscience, attempts to thwart Rosamunde, initially by intrigue, then by a marriage proposal and finally by an attempt at poisoning. Rosamunde, whose claim is backed by a deed in her father's hand, enjoys the support of Cypriots and the Cretan Prince Alfonso, her intended husband. Finally, all the attempts of Fulgentius fail; he dies by his own poison, and Rosamunde ascends the throne.

Schubert's incidental music
Schubert's incidental music is scored for orchestra, and for some of the numbers diverse combinations of singers.

There are two overtures associated with Rosamunde:

The overture used for the stage production was the overture Schubert had originally composed for Alfonso und Estrella, but Schubert thought it less suitable for that opera.
In the 1891 publication of the Gesammtausgabe, the ten numbers of the Rosamunde music were preceded by the overture to Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), without any proof it was ever Schubert's intention to associate that ouverture with the rest of the Rosamunde music.

Incidental music

The ten numbers of the Rosamunde incidental music, D 797, are:

Entr'acte No. 1, in B minor (Allegro molto moderato), which may have been originally intended as the finale to Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony.
Ballet music No. 1, really two pieces in one. The first is a march in B minor (Allegro moderato) beginning with a modified version of the opening theme of the first entr'acte. Like the entr'acte, this ends in B major. A bridge passage leads to a lyrical piece in G major bearing the tempo marking of Andante un poco assai.
a. Entr'acte No. 2 in D major (Andante), the outer sections of which have the same thematic material as those of No. 5, the "Chorus of Spirits." The central sections of both, though different, are in a similar mood.
b. Romanze, "Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöh'n" (The Full Moon Shines on the Mountain Height) (Andante con moto) in F minor and major for alto and orchestra.
Geisterchor (Chorus of Spirits), "In der Tiefe wohnt das Licht" (In the Deep Dwells the Light) in D major (Adagio), accompanying the brewing of the poison.
Entr'acte No. 3 in B♭ major (Andantino) is one of the two best-known pieces in the score. The main theme was used again in the Impromptu in B♭, Op. 142 (D 935), No. 3. Schubert used an almost identical theme in the second movement of his String Quartet in A minor, D 804.
Hirtenmelodien (Shepherds' Melodies) in B♭ major (Andante), a sextet for clarinets, bassoons and horns.
Hirtenchor (Shepherds' Chorus), "Hier auf den Fluren" (Here on the Fields) in B♭ major (Allegretto).
Jägerchor (Hunters' Chorus), "Wie lebt sich's so fröhlich im Grünen" (How Merry Life is in the Country) in D major (Allegro moderato).
Ballet No. 2, the other favorite, an Andantino in G major.


No. 3b was published in 1824 as Op. 26, in a version with piano accompaniment. Nos. 8, 4 and 7 were possibly first published in the same series. Other publications with one or more numbers followed. By 1867 all numbers except 3a and 6 had been published in one or more versions.

George Grove and Arthur Sullivan rediscovered the original manuscript parts of the music when they visited Vienna in 1867 specifically to research Schubert. Grove wrote: "I found, at the bottom of the cupboard, and in its farthest corner, a bundle of music-books two feet high, carefully tied round, and black with the undisturbed dust of nearly half-a-century. … These were the part-books of the whole of the music in Rosamunde, tied up after the second performance in December, 1823, and probably never disturbed since. Dr. Schneider [the curator] must have been amused at our excitement; but let us hope that he recollected his own days of rapture; at any rate, he kindly overlooked it, and gave us permission to take away with us and copy what we wanted."

It was not until Series XV, Volume 4 of the Breitkopf & Härtel Gesammtausgabe was published in 1891 that all the numbers of the incidental music were joined in one publication, with the full orchestration.

Performance history
Excerpts from the Rosamunde music are frequently performed, and are some of Schubert's most performed pieces. They have been recorded several times, including versions conducted by Kurt Masur and Claudio Abbado.

The complete score, which lasts an hour, is seldom heard. In one rare performance, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, directed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, performed the full score at the Styriarte festival in Graz, Austria, in June 2004. The Arnold Schoenberg Choir sang the vocal parts with soloists Elisabeth von Magnus and Florian Boesch.

Other uses of the music
The Overture was used for a ballet sequence in the 1952 Samuel Goldwyn film Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye. The ballet sequence was danced by Zizi Jeanmaire. Another excerpt was incorporated into the Christmas carol Mille cherubini in coro, a song made popular by Luciano Pavarotti in a 1980 TV Christmas programme. The piece is also played in Marvel's film The Avengers in the German opera house scene.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franz Schubert - String Quartet, in A minor, D 804 "Rosamunde"
Brandis Quartet, Thomas Brandis, violin. Peter Brem, violin. Wilfried Strehle, viola. Wolfgang Boettcher, cello.
Franz Schubert - String Quartet, in A minor, D 804 "Rosamunde"
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Andante
III. Menuetto, allegro
IV. Allegro moderato
Franz Schubert - Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern / Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus
Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus, D. 797 - Incidental Music
- Overture
- Entr'acte No. 3 in B flat major
- Ballet no. 3 in G major

Wiener Philharmoniker
Rudolf Kempe

Schubert - Ave Maria - ORIGINAL 1825
"Ellens dritter Gesang" ("Ellens Gesang III", D. 839, Op. 52, No. 6, 1825), in English: "Ellen's Third Song", was composed by Schubert Franz in 1825 as part of his Opus 52, a setting of seven songs from Walter Scott's popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, loosely translated into German.
It has become one of Schubert's most popular works, recorded by a wide variety and large number of singers, under the title of Ave Maria, in arrangements with various lyrics which commonly differ from the original context of the poem. It was arranged in three versions for piano by Franz Liszt.
The piece was composed as a setting of a song from Walter Scott's popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, in a German translation by Adam Storck (de) (1780-1822), and thus forms part of Schubert's Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See (Song Cycle on The Lady of the Lake).
In Scott's poem the character Ellen Douglas, the Lady of the Lake (Loch Katrine in the Scottish Highlands), has gone with her exiled father to stay in the Goblin's cave as he has declined to join their previous host, Roderick Dhu, in rebellion against King James. Roderick Dhu, the chieftain of Clan Alpine, sets off up the mountain with his warriors, but lingers and hears the distant sound of the harpist Allan-bane, accompanying Ellen who sings a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary, calling upon her for help. Roderick Dhu pauses, then goes on to battle.
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