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Schubert, Franz (Seraph Peter)

Schubert, Franz (Seraph Peter) (b Vienna, 1797; d Vienna, 1828). Austrian composer. Son of impoverished schoolmaster, who was his first teacher. In 1808 admitted as boy sop. to imperial chapel, living in the Konvikt. Played vn. in sch. orch., for which he wrote his 1st Sym. (1813). Became pupil of Salieri for theory, 1812. Left Konvikt when v. broke 1813, and worked as ass. schoolmaster to father, but continued to compose prolifically. Frequently attended opera in Vienna and wrote his first opera, Des Teufels Lustschloss in 1814, the first of many stage works, none of which was successful. On 19 Oct. 1814 set Goethe's Gretchen am Spinnrade, his first masterpiece and the song that, it is inaccurately but understandably said, gave birth to the Lied. This released a flood of inspiration. In 1815 Schubert comp. 144 songs, incl. 8 in one day in Oct. In addition, comp. a sym., 2 Masses, and other works. Altogether wrote over 600 songs, of which about 200 are different settings of poems he had already set—he set some poems (particularly those by Goethe and Schiller) up to 6 times.

In 1817 he abandoned teaching and lived in Vienna with one or other of his friends, among whom the poet Mayrhofer was the closest. They talked, drank, discussed the questions of the day, and made mus. in coffee-houses and at their homes. Schubert also met at this time the bar. Michael Vogl, one of the outstanding opera singers of the day, who became the foremost interpreter of his songs, often acc. by the composer. Apart from church mus., the first public concert of Schubert's mus. was in Mar. 1818, at which were perf. (on 2 pf.) the ovs. he had written in imitation of Rossini, whose operas were all the rage in Vienna from 1816. In 1818 spent summer as teacher to the 2 daughters of Count Johann Esterházy at summer estate at Zseliz, where he heard Slav and gipsy folk-mus. On return to Vienna, Schubert lived with Mayrhofer and Hültenbrenner, latter acting as factotum, assembling Schubert's MSS. His Singspiel, Die Zwillingsbrüder, received 6 perfs. in Vienna in June 1820, with Vogl singing the roles of the twin brothers; and in Aug. his incidental mus. for Die Zauberharfe was used at the Theater an der Wien. Other works comp. in this period were the ‘Trout’ Quintet, written at Steyr, Upper Austria, during holiday in 1819 with Vogl, the oratorio Lazarus, setting of Psalm 23, Wanderer Fantasy, and the Quartettsatz. In 1821 Diabelli pubd. song Erlkönig, the first mus. by Schubert to appear in print. Others followed. In 1820–1, the Schubert circle of friends changed as some members left Vienna. Among new associates were painters Leopold Kupelweiser and Moriz von Schwind, and musician Franz Lachner.

In 1821 sketched his 7th Sym., in E major, but left it unorch. (several musicians have ‘completed’ it, among them J. F. Barnett, 1884, Felix Weingartner, 1935, and Brian Newbould, 1977). The following year, comp. an 8th Sym. in B minor, but completed only 2 movts. in full and 130 bars of a scherzo. However, the ‘Unfinished’ Sym. is a complete work of art in itself as it stands. Schubert heard Weber conduct Der Freischütz and Euryanthe in Vienna and himself wrote several stage works between 1821 and 1823, the operas Alfonso und Estrella and Der häusliche Krieg, and incidental mus. for Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern, a play by Helmina von Chézy (librettist of Euryanthe) which ran for 2 perfs.

Ill-health began to trouble Schubert in 1823; while in hospital that year comp. some of the songs of the song-cycle Die schöne Müllerin. At Zseliz in 1824 with the Esterházy family, wrote A minor str. qt. and Grand Duo for pf. duet. In the summer of 1825, joined Vogl for a 5-month tour of Austria, composing all the time. At Gmunden and Gastein said to have comp. a sym. of which no trace has been found, but modern scholarship tends to take the view that this is the ‘Great’ C major Sym. (No.9), usually ascribed to 1828 but now thought to date from 1825. Scholarship is equally divided over what personal contact there was between Schubert and Beethoven, but incontrovertibly Schubert was a torchbearer at Beethoven's funeral in 1827 and had earlier visited him on his deathbed.

The last 2 years of Schubert's short life are fully documented in Schubert: The Final Years by John Reed (1972). To them belong the song-cycle Winterreise, the E♭ pf. trio, Moments musicaux and 3 pf. sonatas, many songs, and Str. Quintet in C major. All Schubert's mus., even the happiest, has a tinge of sadness; the works of his last years, when illness increasingly afflicted him, are at an extreme of poignancy. In Mar. 1828 gave a public concert of his works in Vienna. It made a profit for him, but none of the city's mus. critics attended. Died on 19 Nov. 1828 and was buried near to Beethoven at Währing. Both composers were later exhumed and reburied in the Central Cemetery of Vienna.

Many of the works by Schubert which we hold most dear were not perf. until several years after his death. As a composer of songs he has no equal in fertility of melodic invention, but all his work is so graced with melody of the most seraphic kind that there was at one time a tendency to regard him as an ‘undisciplined’ composer for whom form meant little. How wrong a judgement this was can be realized simply by studying the great chamber works and late pf. sonatas alone. He ranks among the very greatest of composers in all forms except opera, and concs. (of which he wrote none), and the listener has a lifetime of discoveries among his vast output. His works were catalogued by O. E. Deutsch and are now given Deutsch (D) nos. Prin. comps.:

OPERAS: Des Teufels Lustschloss (1813–14, D84); Die Bürgschaft (fragment, 1816, D435); Alfonso und Estrella (1821–22, D732); Der häusliche Krieg (1823, D787; orig. title Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators)); Fierrabras (1823, D796).OPERETTAS: Claudine von Villa Bella (1815, D239); Die Freunde von Salamanka (1815, D326); Fernando (1815, D220); Der vierjährige Posten (1815, D190); Die Zwillingsbrüder (1818–19, D647).STAGE MUSIC: Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), melodrama (1820, D644); Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern (1823, entr'actes, ballet mus., Romanza for sop., Shepherd's Song, and choruses, D797).ORCH.: syms.: No.1 in D (1813, D82), No.2 in B♭ (1814–15, D125), No.3 in D (1815, D200), No.4 in C minor (‘Tragic’, 1816, D417), No.5 in B♭ (1816, D485), No.6 in C major (1818, D589), No.7 in E major (1821, unscored by Schubert), No.8 in B minor (‘Unfinished’, 2 movts. only, 1822, D759), No.9 in C major (‘Great’, 1825, D944); ovs.: in B♭ (1812, D11), in C major (D591) and D major (D590) (both ‘in Italian style’, 1817), in D (1817, D556), in E minor (1819, D648); 5 German Dances (1813, D90); 5 Minuets with 6 Trios (1813, D89); Rondo in A major, vn. and orch. (1816, D438).CHURCH MUSIC: Masses: F major (1814, D105 with 2nd Dona nobis 1815, D185), G major (1815, D167), C major (1816, D452), A♭ (1819–22, D678), B♭ (1815, D324), E♭ (1828, D950), Deutsche Messe (1826–7, D872); Lazarus, oratorio (1820, D689); Hymn to the Holy Spirit, male vv. and wind (1828, D964); Kyrie in D minor (1812, D31), B♭ (1813, D45), D minor (1813, D49), F major (1813, D66); Salve Regina, sop., orch., organ (1812, D27); Psalm 23, women's vv. (1820, D706); Tantum ergo in C (1822, D739), in D (1822, D750).VOICES & ORCH.: Cantata in honour of Spendou (1816, D472); Prometheus (1816, lost, D451); Namensfeier (1813, D80).VOICES (unacc. or with pf./gui.): An die Sonne (1816, D439); Die Advokaten (1812, D37); Begräbnislied (1815, D168); Cantata for Vogl's birthday (1819, D666); Cantata for Salieri's jubilee (1816, D441); Christ ist erstanden (1816, D440); Coronach (1825, D836); Das Leben ist ein Traum (1815, D269); Der Entfernten (c.1816, D331); Der Geistertanz (1816, D494); Der Tanz (1825, D826); Frühlingsgesang (1822, D740); Gebet (1824, D815); Geist der Liebe (1822, D747); Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Song of the Spirit over the Waters) (1817, 2 versions, D538, 1821 with orch. D714); Gondelfahrer (1824, D809); Gott der Weltschöpfer (c.1815, D986); Gott im Ungewitter (c.1815, D985); Gott in der Natur (1822, D757); Grab und Mond (1826, D893); Hymne an den heiligen Geist (1828, D964); Hymne an den Unendlichen (1815, D232); Im Gegenwärtigen Vergangenes (c.1821, D710); Jünglingswonne (?1822, D983); Lebenslust (1818, D609); Mondenschein (1826, D875); Nachthelle (1826, D892); Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt (1819, D877/4); Punschlied (1815, D277); Ständchen (1827, D920); Trinklied (1815, D148); Verschwunden sind die Schmerzen (1813, D88).CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qts.: No.1 in B♭ (1812, D18), No.2 in C (1812, D32), No.3 in B♭ (1813, D36), No.4 in C (1813, D46), No.5 in B♭ (1813, D68), No.6 in D (1813, D74), No.7 in D (1814, D94), No.8 in B♭ (1814, D112), No.9 in G minor (1815, D173), No.10 in E♭ (1813, D87), No.11 in E (1816, D353), No.12 in C minor (Quartettsatz) (1820, D703), No.13 in A minor (1824, D804), No.14 in D minor (Death and the Maiden, 1824, D810), No.15 in G (1826, D887); String Quintet (2 vn., va., 2 vc.), C major (1828, D956); pf. quintet, A major (Die Forelle (Trout), 1819, D667); qt. for guitar, fl., va., vc. (arr. of Notturno by Matiegka) (1814 D96); pf. trios: No.1 in B♭ (1827, D898), No.2 in E♭ (1827, D929), Notturno in E♭ for pf. trio (1825, D897), sonata for pf. trio in B♭ (1812, D28); sonatas: vn. and pf. in A (1817, D574), arpeggione (or vc.) and pf. in A minor (1824, D821); sonatinas: vn. and pf., No.1 in D (1816, D384), No.2 in A minor (1816, D385), No.3 in G minor (1816, D408); Octet in F (2 vn., va., vc., db., cl., bn., hn.) (1824, D803). Miscellaneous: Adagio and Rondo Concertante, pf., vn., va., vc. (1816, D487), Fantasia on Sie mir gegrüsst in C, vn., pf. (1827, D934); Rondo brillant in B minor, vn. and pf. (1826, D895); Introduction and Variations on Trock'ne Blumen, fl. and pf. (1824, D802); Minuet and Finale in F for wind octet (1813, D72).2 PIANOS: Divertissement à la hongroise (1824?, D818), Fantasia in F minor (1828, D940), sonata in B♭ (1818, D617), sonata in C (Grand Duo) (1824, D813), Introduction and Variations on an Original Theme in B♭ (c.1818, D603), 2 Marches caractéristiques in C (1826, D886), 3 Marches militaires (No.1 in D, No.2 in G, No.3 in E♭, 1822, D733, also for orch.); also polonaises, rondos, ovs., and sets of variations.PIANO: sonatas: No.1 in E (1815, D157, unfinished), No.2 in C (1815, D279, unfinished), No.3 in E (1816, D459), No.4 in A minor (1817, D537), No.5 in A♭ (1817, D557), No.6 in E minor (1817, D566), No.7 in D♭ (1817, D567), No.8 in B (1817, D575), No.9 in C (1818, D613, unfinished), No.10 in F minor (1818, D625, unfinished), No.11 in A (1819, D664), No.12 in A minor (1823, D784), No.13 in C (1825, D840, unfinished), No.14 in A minor (1825, D845), No.15 in D (1825, D850, rev. of No.7), No.16 in G (1826, D894), No.17 in C minor (1828, D.958), No.18 in A (1828, D959), No.19 in B♭ (1828, D960); Allegretto in C minor (1827, D915); Fantasia in C (Wanderer, 1822, D760; version for pf. and orch. by Liszt); 11 Impromptus (1828): No.1 in C minor, No.2 in E♭, No.3 in G♭, No.4 in A♭ (D899), No.5 in F minor, No.6 in A♭, No.7 in B♭, No.8 in F minor (D935), No.9 in E♭ minor, No.10 in E♭, No.11 in C (D946); Klavierstück in A (1818, D604); 12 Ländler (1823, D790); 6 Moments musicaux (1823–8, D780): No.1 in C, No.2 in A♭, No.3 in F minor, No.4 in C♯ minor, No.5 in F minor, No.6 in A♭; 3 Klavierstücke (1828, D946): No.1 in E♭ minor, No.2 in E♭, No.3 in C; Rondo in D (1818, D608); 2 Scherzos (1817, D593); Hungarian Melody (1824, D817); Valses nobles (1827, D969); 13 Variations in A minor on a theme of Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1817, D576); 12 Waltzes (1815–21, D145); 36 Waltzes (1816–21, D365).SONG-CYCLES: Die schöne Müllerin (1823, D795); Winterreise (1827, D911); Schwanengesang (1827–8, D957, publisher's coll., not conceived as cycle). See individual entries for names of component songs.SONGS: It is impracticable to list here all Schubert's songs. A selection of the best known is given here, with poet's name:

Abendstern (Mayrhofer, 1824, D806), Die abgeblühte Linde ( Széchényi, 1817, D514), Alinde ( Rochlitz, 1827, D904), Allein, nachdenklich wie gelähmt ( Petrarch, 1818, D629), Die Allmacht ( Pyrker, 1825, D852), Am Bach im Frühling ( Schober, 1816, D361), Am Grabe Anselmos ( Claudius, 1816, D504), Am See ( Bruchmann, 1823, D746), An den Frühling (Schiller, 1815, D245), An den Mond (Goethe, 1815, D296), An die Entfernte (Goethe, 1822, D765), An die Freude (Schiller, 1815, D189), An mein Klavier ( Schubart, c.1816, D342), An die Laute (Rochlitz, 1827, D905), An die Leier (Bruchmann, 1822, D737), An die Musik (Schober, 1817, D547), An die Nachtigall (Holty, 1815, D196), An die untergehende Sonne (Kosegarten, 1816, D457), An eine Quelle (Claudius, 1817, D530), An schwager Kronos (Goethe, 1816, D369), An Sylvia ( Shakespeare, 1826, D891), Auf dem Wasser zu singen ( Stolberg, 1823, D774), Auf der Bruck ( Schulze, 1825, D853), Auf der Donau (Mayrhofer, 1817, D553), Auflösung (Mayrhofer, 1824, D807), Ave Maria ( Ellen's Song, W. Scott, trans. Storck, 1825, D839), Bei dir Allein ( Seidl, 1826, D866/2), Beim Winde (Mayrhofer, 1819, D669), Berthas Lied in der Nacht ( Grillparzer, 1819, D653), Der blinde Knabe ( Cibber, 1825, D833, 2nd version), Die Bürgschaft (Schiller, 1815, D246), Cronnan ( Ossian, 1815, D282), Delphine ( Schütz, 1825, D857), Des Fischers Liebesglück ( Leitner, 1827, D933), Du bist die Ruh’ ( Rückert, 1823, D776), Der Einsame ( Lappe, 1825, D800), Epistel ( Collin, 1822, D749), Erlkönig (Goethe, 1815, D328), Die erste Liebe ( Fellinger, 1815, D182), Der Fischer (Goethe, 1815, D225), Fischerweise ( Schlechta, 1826, D881), Die Forelle (Schubart, 1817, D550), Frühlingsglaube ( Uhland, 1820, D686), Frühlingslied ( Anon, 1816, D398), Ganymed (Goethe, 1817, D544), Geheimes (Goethe, 1821, D719), Geheimnis (Mayrhofer, 1816, D491), Die Götter Griechenlands (Schiller, 1819, D677), Grablied ( Kenner, 1815, D218), Gretchen am Spinnrade (Goethe, 1814, D118), Gruppe aus dem Tartarus (Schiller, 1817, D583), Harfenspieler I—Wer sich der Einsamkeit ergibt (Goethe, 1816, D478); II—An die Türen will ich schleichen (Goethe, 1816, D479); III—Wer nie sein Brot (Goethe, 1816, D480), Heidenröslein (Goethe, 1815, D257), Heimliches Lieben ( Klenke, 1827, D922), Heiss’ mich nicht reden (Goethe, Mignon Song, 1826, 2nd version D877/2), Hektors Abschied (Schiller, 1815, D312), Hermann und Thurnelda ( Klopstock, 1815, D322), Herrn Josef Spaun (Collin, 1822, D749), Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock) with cl. obbl. ( Müller and von Chézy, 1828, D965), Horch, horch, die Lerch (Shakespeare, 1826, D889), Im Abendrot (Lappe, 1824, D799), Im Frühling (Schulze, 1826, D882), Im Haine (Bruchmann, 1822, D738), Iphigenia (Mayrhofer, 1817, D573), Jäger, ruhe von der Jagd ( W. Scott, 1815, D838), Die junge Nonne ( Craigher, 1825, D828), Der Jüngling am Bache (Schiller, 3 versions, 3rd, 1819, D638), Der Jüngling an der Quelle (1821, D300), Der Jüngling und der Tod ( Spaun, 1817, D545), Kennst du das Land? (Goethe, 1815, D321), Der König in Thule (Goethe, 1816, D367), Lachen und Weinen (Rückert, 1823, D777), Licht und Liebe (Collin, 1816, D352), Die Liebende schreibt (Goethe, 1819, D673), Liebhaber in allen Gestalten (Goethe, 1817, D558), Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren (Mayrhofer, 1816, D360), Das Mädchen ( Schlegel, 1819, D652), Das Mädchen aus der Fremde (Schiller, 1814, D117), Meeresstille (Goethe, 1815, D216), Mignon und der Harfer (Goethe, 1826, D877/1), Minnelied ( Holty, 1816, D429), Miriams Siegesgesang for sop. and ch. (Grillparzer, 1828, D942), Morgenlied ( Werner, 1820, D685), Der Musensohn (Goethe, 1822, D764), Nacht und Träume (Collin, 1822, D827), Nachtgesang ( Kosegarten, 1815, D314), Nachtviolen (Mayrhofer, 1822, D752), Nähe des Geliebten (Goethe, 1816, D162), Normans Gesang ( W. Scott, trans. Storck, 1825, D846), Nunmehr, da Himmel, Erde (Petrarch, 1818, D630), Nur wer die Sehnsucht Kennt (Goethe, Mignon song, 5 versions. 5th, 1826, D877/4), La pastorella ( Goldoni, 1817, D528), Der Pilgrim (Schiller, 1823, D794), Prometheus (Goethe, 1819, D674), Rastlose Liebe (Goethe, 1815, D138), Raste, Krieger ( Scott, 1825, D837), Die Rose (Schlegel, 1822, D745), Das Rosenband (Klopstock, 1815, D280), Der Sänger (Goethe, 1815, D149), Schäfers Klagelied (Goethe, 1814, D121), Der Schiffer (Mayrhofer, 1817, D536), Schlummerlied (Mayrhofer, 1817, D527), Der Schmetterling ( Schiegel, 1815, D633), Schwestergruss (Bruchmann, 1822, D762), Sehnsucht (Schiller, 1813, D52), Sei mir gegrüsst (Rückert, 1822, D741), Seligkeit (Holty, 1816, D433), So lasst mich scheinen (Goethe, Mignon song, 2 versions, 2nd, 1826, D877/3), Sprache der Liebe (Schlegel, 1816, D410), Ständchen (Horch, horch, die Lerche) (Grillparzer, 1827, D921), Die Sterne (Leitner, 1828, D939), Suleika's Songs I—Was bedeutet die Bewegung ( Willemer, 1821, D720), II—Ach, um deine feuchten Schwingen (Willemer, 1821, D717), Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden) (Claudius, 1817, D531), Totengräbers Heimweh (Craigher, 1825, D842), Trost im Liede (Schober, 1817, D546), Über Wildemann (Schulze, 1826, D884), Dem Unendlichen (Klopstock, 1815, D291), Der Vater mit dem Kind ( Bauernfeld, 1827, D906), Versunken (Goethe, 1821, D715), Die Vögel (Schlegel, 1820, D691), Der Wanderer ( Lübeck, 1816, D493), Der Wanderer an den Mond ( Solde, 1826, D870), Wanderers Nachtlied (Goethe, 2 settings, 2nd 1822, D768), Wehmut (Collin, 1823, D772), Wiegenlied (Anon., 1815, D498), Wiegenlied (Seidl, 1826, D867), Der zürnende Barde ( Bruckmann, 1823, D785), Der Zwerg (Collin, 1822, D771).

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Schubert, Franz

Franz Schubert

Born: January 31, 1797 Vienna, Austria Died: November 19, 1828 Vienna, Austria Austrian composer

Franz Schubert, an early romantic Austrian composer, is best known for his lieder (German art songs for voice and piano) during the nineteenth century. A new profusion of lyric poetry and the evolution of the piano into a highly complex mechanism allowed the gifted Schubert to compose exceptional lyrics.

Childhood and training

Franz Peter Schubert was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 31, 1797, the fourth son of Franz Theodor Schubert, a schoolmaster, and Elizabeth Vietz, a domestic servant in Vienna. Encouraged to pursue his talents in music, Franz received instruction in the violin from his father, his older brother Ignaz, and Michael Holzer, the organist at the Liechtenthal parish church.

In 1808, through a competitive examination, the eleven-year-old Schubert was accepted into the choir of the Imperial Court Chapel as well as the Royal Seminary. Although he was homesick, he was an outstanding student. Besides singing in the choir, he played in the orchestra. He became familiar at this time with the music of Franz Joseph Haydn (17321809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (17561791), and Ludwig von Beethoven (17701827).

Schubert was a shy youth, and spent most of his spare time practicing and composing by himself. He left the choir at age fifteen when his voice changed, but continued to study at the seminary. Antonio Salieri, the emperor's music director, heard about Schubert's talents and took him in as a student.

Early period

In 1814 the genius of Schubert was first made evident in his work Gretchen am Spinnrade, inspired by his reading of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's (17491832) Faust. His first Mass and his first symphony appeared about this time and showed the influence of Haydn. Schubert set five other Goethe songs to music that year. By the end of 1814 Schubert was an assistant at his father's school and had begun to make the acquaintance of numerous poets, lawyers, singers, and actors, who soon would be the principal performers of his works at private concerts in their homes or in those of their wealthier friends.

Other eighteenth-century lyric poets whose works Schubert set to music include J. G. von Herder, the collector and translator of folk songs, F. G. Klopstock, and Friedrich von Schiller (17591805). None can compare, however, with the remarkable Goethe songs. Even the uninitiated (not educated on a particular subject) must respond to the excitement of the Erlkönig (1815), where by means of changing accompaniment figures, sharp dissonance (an arrangement of clashing chords), and effective modulations (the shifting of one musical tone to another) Schubert makes a distinction between the four characters of the balladnarrator, father, son, and Erlkingand creates one of the masterpieces of romantic music.

While still a schoolmaster, Schubert composed Symphonies No. 2 through No. 5. At this time he also wrote many of the delightful dances, waltzes, and Ländler (a type of Austrian waltz for which he was known during his lifetime).

By 1817 Schubert was living in the home of his friend Franz von Schober, where he wrote several piano sonatas (instrumental music composed of four contrasting movements). In his father's house there had been no piano. Examination of the sonatas proves Schubert to have been rather daring in his juxtaposition (placing one next to another) of keys, particularly in development sections. In addition to instrumental compositions, Schubert wrote fifty songs in 1817. In July 1817 Schubert was appointed to the household of Count Esterhazy and his family, who spent winters in an estate slightly north of Schönbrunn and summers at Zseliz in Hungary. There Schubert composed many of his works for piano duets.

Middle period

Between 1820 and 1823 Schubert achieved his musical maturity. Two of his operettas and several of his songs were performed in public and amateurs and professional quartets sang his part-songs for male voices. Some of his works began to be published and performed in private concerts.

In September 1821 Schubert and Schober left Vienna for the country with the intention of writing Alfonso und Estrella, his only grand opera. Shortly after his return to the city, he met Edward Bauernfeld, who introduced him to William Shakespeare's (15641616) works. In the fall of 1822, having completed his Mass in A-flat, Schubert began work on the Symphony in B Minor, which became known as the Unfinished. Three movements were sketched; two were completed. It is not known why the work was left incomplete.

Schubert's health began to fail, and in May he spent time in the Vienna General Hospital. Rosamunde, a play for which Schubert had written incidental musiconly the overture and ballet music are heard todayfailed in 1823 and brought to a close his extended efforts to achieve a successful opera.

Schubert now turned to chamber music, producing an Octet for woodwinds and strings and his A Minor, D Minor, and G Major Quartets. In 1825 Schubert formed the mainstay of the Schubertiads, evenings at which Schubert's songs were sung.

Final years

In 1826 and 1827, despite the reappearance of his illness, Schubert wrote four masterpieces, each of which has remained a staple in his repertory (works commonly performed): the String Quartet in G, the Piano Sonata in G, the Piano Trio in B-flat, and the second Piano Trio in E-flat. Schubert was one of the torchbearers at Beethoven's funeral in 1827. Toward the end of that year Schubert completed his two series of piano pieces that he himself entitled Impromptus.

In 1828 Schubert composed several first-rate works: the magnificent F-Minor Fantasy for piano duet, the C-Major Symphony, the Eflat Mass, and nine songs to Ludwig Rellstab's poems. On March 26, 1828, Schubert participated in the only full-scale public concert devoted solely to his own works.

On November 11, Schubert began suffering from nausea and headache. Five days later the doctors diagnosed typhoid fever (a bacteria-caused disease marked with fever and the swelling of intestines). He died on November 19, 1828.

The impact of Schubert's work

In musical history Schubert stands with others at the beginning of the romantic movement, anticipating the highly personal approach to composition of later composers but lacking the forcefulness and the creative means to experiment with instrumental music that Beethoven displayed.

Many of Schubert's large-scale instrumental pieces were unknown until after the middle of the nineteenth century. Moreover, unlike many other romantic composers, Schubert did not try a literary career. He was never a conductor or virtuoso (extremely gifted and skillful) performer. He did not achieve considerable public recognition during his lifetime. However, there is a lasting quality to Schubert's work that reaches out over the ages which few composers have matched.

For More Information

Clive, Peter. Schubert and His World: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

McKay, Elizabeth Norman. Franz Schubert: A Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Newbould, Brian. Schubert: The Music and the Man. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Reed, John. Schubert. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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Schubert, Franz

Schubert, Franz (b Dresden, 1808; d Dresden, 1878). Ger. violinist and composer. Played in Dresden court orch. 1823–73 (leader from 1861). Comp. works for vn. and orch. and popular vn. piece L'Abeille (The Bee).

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