One can’t re-write history, but when you see the point reached by Schubert at 30 – the last quartets and the C-major Quintet, no less -, his early death is one of the greatest tragedies in the history of music. Think about it: what would be the standing of Beethoven today if he had died at 31 and 10 months – in October 1800? He’d been over at opus 18, the first six string quartets. Three violin sonatas, two for cello and that’s it. He’d have composed only the first two piano concertos and left the third unfinished. Eight piano sonatas, no Moonlight, no Hammerklavier… And only the first symphony! No Eroica, no pom-pom-pom-pom (hence no V-Day), no Pastorale, no “Apotheosis of Dance” and no Adagietto, no Ode to the Joy. What would the world be? Hitler would probably have won the war and the Nazis would be dominating the world…
Of course, of course, one can always imagine that Franz sensed that death was approaching (and certainly, all those late works – oh but the terrible irony of this! what’s “late” with Schubert? – are marked by the harrowing sense of impending death) and that it strongly influenced his compositions and early maturity, that if he had been in good health and with the prospect of a long blissful life before him, he wouldn’t have composed the same music… Sure. But what a tragedy in the history of music. Almost two centuries later, even I can’t fully recover from Schubert’s untimely death, so think what it must be with the rest of the world. Franz, return!
I’ve reviewed a number of versions of the 9th Symphony on Amazon, some of the last string quartets and MANY of the C-major Quintet, which I need to re-import over here. Stay tune and be patient.
Minuet No. 3 and Trios in D minor from Five Minuets with 6 Trios for string quartet D. 89. Kremerata Baltica, cond. Gidon Kremer in “De Profundis” (works of Sibelius, Pärt, Šerkšnytė, Schumann, Nyman, Schubert, Tickmayer, Shostakovich, Auerbach, Piazzolla, Pelēcis, Schnittke). Nonesuch 7559 79969 9 (2010)
Masses and choral works