FRANZ SCHUBERT by Wendy Thompson


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Another entry (see below) in the ""Composer's World"" series, introduced in 1990 with books on Beethoven and Mozart. These two also combine a generous number of archival illustrations--portraits, cityscapes, typical period scenes, etc.--with fairly detailed narratives that outline the composers' lives, emphasizing events especially related to their music. Schubert's personal life is more insistent than many: a leading member of a group given to wild parties and late hours, his ""lifestyle, especially his unpunctuality and inability to keep appointments, was not really suited to a proper job""; he died, at 31, of syphilis. Though the human being suggested by such careful descriptions never comes to life here, Thompson does give an intelligent introduction to the music, explaining how it was unique and how it fit into the cultural times; he also does a good job of evoking Schubert's daily life. Ten easily played excerpts, arranged for the piano, are included--a splendid way of giving a taste of Schubert's music; unfortunately, there is little comment on the arrangements (is this the piano accompaniment for ""The Hedgerose,"" or the melody in a simplified setting?), and two are totally unidentified. Still, a handsome book and a fine introduction to Schubert and his work. Brief glossary; list of works.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1991
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Viking