Franz Peter Schubert was born on the 31st January 1797. He was an Austrian composer of the late Classical and early Romantic eras. Despite his short lifetime, Schubert left behind a vast oeuvre, including more than 600 secular vocal works (mainly lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of piano and chamber music. His major works include the Piano Quintet in A major, D. 667 (Trout Quintet), the Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D. 759 (Unfinished Symphony), the ”Great” Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944, the String Quintet (D. 956), the three last piano sonatas (D. 958–960), the opera Fierrabras (D. 796), the incidental music to the play Rosamunde (D. 797), and the song cycles Die schöne Müllerin (D. 795) and Winterreise (D. 911).
Born in the Himmelpfortgrund suburb of Vienna, Schubert’s uncommon gifts for music were evident from an early age. His father gave him his first violin lessons and his elder brother gave him piano lessons, but Schubert soon exceeded their abilities. In 1808, at the age of eleven, he became a pupil at the Stadtkonvikt school, where he became acquainted with the orchestral music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He left the Stadtkonvikt at the end of 1813, and returned home to live with his father, where he began studying to become a schoolteacher; despite this, he continued his studies in composition with Antonio Salieri and still composed prolifically. In 1821, Schubert was admitted to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde as a performing member, which helped establish his name among the Viennese citizenry. He gave a concert of his own works to critical acclaim in March 1828, the only time he did so in his career.
Appreciation of Schubert’s music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades following his death. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and other 19th-century composers discovered and championed his works. Today, Schubert died on the 19 November 1828 at the age of 31. The cause officially attributed to typhoid fever, but believed by some historians to be syphilis.
He is ranked among the greatest composers of Western classical music and his music continues to be popular.
Schubert has featured as a character in a number of films including Schubert’s Dream of Spring (1931), Gently My Songs Entreat (1933), Serenade (1940), The Great Awakening (1941), It’s Only Love (1947), Franz Schubert (1953), Das Dreimäderlhaus (1958), and Mit meinen heißen Tränen (1986).
Schubert’s music has also been featured in numerous post-silent era films, including Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940), which features Ave Maria (D. 839); and the biographical film Carrington (1995), which features the second movement of the String Quintet in C major (D. 956), as well as the English version of The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989), which features Serenade and Auf dem Wasser zu singen (D. 774).
Schubert’s life was covered in the documentary Franz Peter Schubert: The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow by Christopher Nupen (1994), and in the documentary Schubert – The Wanderer by András Schiff and Mischa Scorer (1997), both produced for the BBC.
Also Schubert’s music „The Swan song“ (original: Schwanengesang) was performed in the movie „The Young Victoria“. This is a 2009 British period drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Julian Fellowes, based on the early life and reign of Queen Victoria, and her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Produced by Graham King, Martin Scorsese, Sarah Ferguson, and Timothy Headington, the film stars Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Harriet Walter, Mark Strong, and Jim Broadbent among a large ensemble cast. Music was directed by Ilan Eshkeri.
Swan song is the last song, a sign of exhaustion, a farewell song, an amnesty song, according to the belief of a swan before death sings. Again, according to a legend in Australia, there is a beautiful, gentle, small bird whose female sings only once in her short life. But it is a long and different story that is not for vocabulary. We tied her to our little girls’ turtle doves, the birds die singing. It is sad and beautiful song. Look for it.