Schubart, Christian Friedrich Daniel

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Schubart, Christian Friedrich Daniel

Schubart, Christian Friedrich Daniel, prominent German instrumentalist, poet, journalist, writer on music, and composer; b. Obersontheim, Swabia, March 24, 1739; d. Stuttgart, Oct. 10, 1791. He revealed musical and literary gifts as a child, but his parents insisted that he pursue theological studies; he took courses in Nördlingen and Nuremberg, and also received some instruction in music from his father and G.W. Gruber; then was a student at the Univ. of Erlangen (1758–60), where he proved a contentious pupil. He served as organist and preceptor in Geisslingen (1763–69); was made court organist in Ludwigsburg in 1769, and also was harpsichordist at the opera and a music teacher before being banished for dissolute conduct in 1773. He then went to Augsburg, where he brought out the periodical Deutsche Chronik in 1774, continuing its publication in Ulm until 1777. His journal was devoted to politics, literature, and music; his political Writings won him many enemies, and in 1777 he was imprisoned by Duke Carl Eugen of Württemberg in the Hohenasperg fortress. During his imprisonment, he wrote extensively and also composed. He won particular distinction as a keyboardist and writer. As a composer, he was most successful with songs, most of which he set to his own texts. They are historically important for their contribution to the creation of the German lied of the folk type. A number of composers set his poems to music: Schubert’s settings of his Die Forelle and An mein Klavier became famous.

Writings

Ideen zu einer Ästhetik der Tonkunst (1784–85; ed. by his son, Ludwig Schubart, Vienna, 1806); Leben und Gesinnungen, von ihm selbst im Kerker aufgesetzt (2 vols., Stuttgart, 1791–93)

Bibliography

L. Schubart, S.s Karakter (Erlangen, 1798); idem, ed., C.F.D. S.: Gesammelte Schriften und Schicksale (Stuttgart, 1839–40); G. Hauff, S. in seinen Leben und seinen Werken (Stuttgart, 1885); E. Holzer, S. als Musiker (Stuttgart, 1905); D. Ossenkop, C.F.D. S.’s Writings on Music (diss., Columbia Univ., I960).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire