HumanitiesWeb.org - Franz Schubert - The Supreme Melodist [Biography]
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Franz Schubert
Biography



"Enviable Nero, who had the strength to destroy a loathsome people to the sound of music and song."

Franz Schubert is regarded as the supreme melodist among the great composers. It is said that he sometimes jotted down melodies on the backs of cafe menus or any other scrap of paper that came to hand. Many of his melodies do sound effortless: they flow from his symphonies, string quartets, sonatas and other instrumental works and from the music he wrote for the stage. But his talent shone the brightest in his famous Lieder, or songs.

Schubert wrote more than six hundred Lieder. Some of these compositions are among the best-loved pieces of music in the world. They combine treasured melodies with piano accompaniments that set off the emotional themes of the songs perfectly. His melody enriched the lines of poetry he set music to capturing the mood of the words themselves. By the time of his death, he had composed approximately 600 songs, including the world-famous Ave Maria. His technique was to use the accompanying piano to set the scene, often as vividly as any stage set, while reserving some his loveliest tunes for the setting of the words to convey an amazing range and depth of feeling.

Schubert lived a tragically short life of 31 years. But within this time span, he achieved so much, and all with poetic perfection. It can be said that his musical works combined the styles of the Classical Period of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven and the Romantic Era of Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt.

Friend and poet Franz Grillparzer wrote Schubert's epitaph. His tombstone reads: "The art of music here entombed a rich possession; but even far fairer hopes. Here lies Franz Schubert."

contributed by Gifford, Katya

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