Filterable Quotes about Schubert

SIUK has a collection of well over a hundred quotes about Schubert. Some are very well know, others much less so. See if you can find a good one to add to our database!

You can filter by 'role' in the box on the top left, to, for example, find all quotes by other composers. The box on the top right gets filtered to show people who meet that criterion, so you can just view all the quotes by, say, Beethoven (there is only one, but it is very famous). You can also filter in the box on the bottom left on the subject of the quote: Schubert's character, about him as a composer, and so on. Finally, the box in the bottom right enables you to filter on a range of years when the quote was made.

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Yesterday afternoon Schubert died ... The most honest soul and the most faithful friend! I wish I lay there in his place. For he leaves the world with fame!
by
Eduard von Bauernfeld

From his diary 20 Nov 1828, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his friends.

friend & writer

1828

Schubert had, so to speak, a double nature, the Viennese gaiety being interwoven and ennobled by a trait of deep melancholy. Inwardly a poet and outwardly a kind of hedonist...
by
Eduard von Bauernfeld

From a letter to Luib, 24th November 1857, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his friends.

friend & writer

1857

Truly, in Schubert there is a divine spark.
by
Ludwig van Beethoven

Quoted by Schindler Musikalische Nachrichten. Vienna : 1831. Given in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p307. Given Schindler's reputation, this famous quote must be treated with some suspicion.

composer

1797-1830

The art of music here entombed a rich possession, but even far fairer hopes.
by
Franz Grillparzer

Franz Grillparzer, the Austrian poet, was in Schubert's circle. He was asked to provide an inscription for Schubert's first tomb at the Währinger Friedhof, and this was the chosen text (the rejected inscriptions have been preserved, and are on display in the Death House Museum in Vienna). It provoked controversy because many people thought it undervalued what Schubert had already achieved.

friend & writer

1829

Wayfarer! Hast thou heard Schubert's Song? Under this stone he lies
by
Franz Grillparzer

Rejected sketch for inscription on Schubert's tomb

friend & writer

1829

He was placed near the best ones when he died, and yet he was scarcely half-way in his career
by
Franz Grillparzer

Rejected sketch for inscription on Schubert's tomb

friend & writer

1829

He bade poetry resound and music speak.
by
Franz Grillparzer

Rejected sketch for inscription on Schubert's tomb

friend & writer

1829

If I wished to instruct him in anything fresh, he already knew it. Consequently I gave him no actual tuition but merely conversed with him and watched him with silent astonishment.
by
Michael Holzer

Michael Holzer was the choirmaster at the church in Lichtenthal where the Schubert family worshipped. He was the first musician outside Schubert's family to teach Schubert. Holzer is quoted in an obituary written by Schubert's brother Ferdinand entitled Aus Franz Schuberts Leben and printed in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Leipzig, in 1839.

friend

1797-1830

He has harmony at his finger's ends!
by
Michael Holzer

Quoted in Kreißle von Hellborn's biography from the English translation by Arthur Duke Coleridge

friend

1797-1830

Falsity and envy were utter strangers to him; his character was a mixture of tenderness and coarseness, sensuality and candour, sociability and melancholy.
by
Johann Mayrhofer

From his obituary of Schubert in Neues Archiv, 23rd Feb 1829, quoted at length in an English translation in Schubert A Documentary Biography.

friend & writer

1829

In truth, my songs lead only half a life, a paper life, black on white ... until music imparts to them the breath of life, or calls it forth and awakens it, if it is already dormant in them.
by
Wilhelm Müller

From a letter to Bernhard Klein, 15 December 1822

writer

1822

This one's learnt it from God.
by
Wenzel Růžička

Quoted in Schubert A Documentary Biography, p14.

friend

1797-1830

Franz, you are my pupil, and will do me great honour.
by
Antonio Salieri

Recorded by Franz Doppler, quoted in Kreißle von Hellborn's biography and given in the English translation by Coleridge on Vol 1, p. 36.

friend & composer

1797-1830

He can do everything, he composes songs, masses, operas, quartetts whatever you can think of.
by
Antonio Salieri

Salieri is quoted in an obituary written by Schubert's brother Ferdinand entitled Aus Franz Schuberts Leben and printed in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Leipzig, in 1839. Ferdinand's biography is give in full an English translation in in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends.

friend & composer

1797-1830

I was amazed when Franz told me, a few months after we began, that he had no need of any further
instruction from me, and that for the future he would make his own way.
And in truth his progress in a short period was so great that I was forced to acknowledge in him a master who had completely distanced and outstripped me, and whom I despaired of overtaking.
by
Ignaz Schubert

Quoted in Kreissle von Hellborn's biography, with this translation from the English translation by Coleridge, p5.

friend

1797-1830

My dear fellow, this is no good, leave it alone; you stick to your songs!
by
Ignaz Schuppanzigh

After the first run through of the Quartet in D minor, ('Death and the Maiden'), D810, quoted by Lachner in his Memoirs of Schubert, 1881, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 288.

friend & performer

1797-1830

I have wept for him as for a brother, but now I am glad for him that he has died in his greatness and has done with his sorrows. The more I realize now what he was like, the more I see what he has suffered.
by
Moritz von Schwind

From a letter to Schober, 25th November 1828, quoted in Schubert A Documentary Biography.

friend

1797-1830

Thus lived Schubert, and so he was. His earthly pilgramage was brief; but the spirit that comes from his music lives.
by
Leopold von Sonnleithner

From his obituary of Schubert, given in the monthly report of the Austrian Philharmonic Society, February 1829, and given in an English translation in Schubert A Documentary Biography, p 857.

friend

1797-1830

I am of the opinion that, in the field of instrumental and church music, we shall never make a Mozart or Haydn out of him.
by
Josef von Spaun

From a letter to Eduard von Bauernfeld (who was preparing a biographical note), early 1829, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 30.

friend

1797-1830

You do have talent, but you are too little the actor, too little the charlatan. You are too prodigal with your thoughts, without developing them.
by
Johann Michael Vogl

Quoted in Kreißle von Hellborn's biography from the English translation by Arthur Duke Coleridge, p116-7

friend & performer

1797-1830

But I tell you that the usual course is for people to drown the first puppies and the first operas.
by
Carl Maria von Weber

Weber's comment was about Alfonso und Estrella - Schubert had started 11 previous operatic works… Quoted in Kreißle von Hellborn's biography from the English translation by Arthur Duke Coleridge, Vol 1, p. 248

composer

1797-1830

A man who so understands the poets is himself a poet!
by
Eduard von Bauernfeld

From Some notes on Franz Schubert (1869) quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p227.

friend & writer

1869

It was not uncommon for him to keep a company of invited guests waiting vainly for him, while he sat in comfort with half a dozen assistant schoolmasters, former colleagues of his, drinking wine in a secluded tavern. If we reproached him the next day, he would say with a contented chuckle : "I was not in the mood ! "
by
Eduard von Bauernfeld

From Some notes on Franz Schubert (1869) quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p229.

friend & writer

1869

Dessauer wondered "whether the song was not indeed too sad, too melancholy." Schubert replied : "Do you know any gay music?"
by
Eduard von Bauernfeld

From   'In memory of Josef Dessauer' (1877) quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 241

friend & writer

1877

The true successor to Beethoven is not Mendelssohn, whose artistic cultivation was quite incomparable, also not Schumann, but Schubert. It is unbelievable, the music he put in his songs.
by
Johannes Brahms

From a letter by Brahms to his pupil Gustav Jenner.

composer

1831-1900

There is no song of Schubert's from which one cannot learn something.
by
Johannes Brahms

Brahms to Gustav Jenner, quoted in his book Johannes Brahms als Mensch, Lehrer und Künstler. Studien und Erlebnisse, Marburg, 1905

composer

1831-1900

My love for Schubert is a very serious one, probably just because it is not a fleeting fancy. Where is genius like his, which soars aloft so boldly and surely, where we then see the first few enthroned? To me he is like a child of the gods, who plays with Jupiter's thunder, albeit also occasionally handling it oddly. But he plays in such a region, at such a height, to which the others are far short of raising themselves...
by
Johannes Brahms

The composer Brahms was a great fan of Schubert, promoting his works, helping with the editing of the Schubert Complete Works for his birth centenary, and collecting Schubert manuscripts. This quote is from a letter from Brahms to Schubring, in June 1863.


composer

1863

He took a certain ... shall I say pride in the misfortunes which befell him on his wild caperings.
by
Wilhelm von Chézy

From his autobiography, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Freiends, p. 261

friend

1863

Unfortunately Schubert, with his liking for the pleasures of life, had strayed into those wrong paths which generally admit of no return, at least of no healthy one.
by
Wilhelm von Chézy

From his autobiography, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Freiends, p. 261

friend

1863

...small, thick-set musician; though to outward appearances a lump of dough, his eyes had such a sparkle that the inner fire was revealed at the first glance.
by
Wilhelm von Chézy

From his autobiography, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Freiends, p. 261

friend

1863

Perhaps a more overrated man than this Schubert never existed. He has certainly written a few good songs. But what then? Has not every composer who ever composed written a few good songs? And out of the thousand and one with which Schubert deluged the musical world it would indeed be hard if some half-dozen were not tolerable. And when that is said, all is said that can justly be said about Schubert.
by
James William Davison

Davison, on the other hand, was clearly not a fan! From the Musical World, June 13th 1844. At that time many of what we now think of as Schubert's finest instrumental works had still not yet been published. Quoted in John Reed's article Schubert's reception in nineteenth-century England in The Cambridge Companion to Schubert, edited by Christopher Gibbs

writer

1844

I do not hesitate to say that, greatly as I esteem Schubert's songs, I value his instrumental works even more highly. Were all of his compositions to be destroyed but two, I should say, save the last two symphonies.
by
Antonin Dvorak

From his famous article Franz Schubert in the Century Magazine, July 1894

composer

1894

In originality of harmony and modulations, and in his gift of orchestral colouring, Schubert has had no superior.
by
Antonin Dvorak

From his famous article Franz Schubert in the Century Magazine, July 1894

composer

1894

He introduced the song into the symphony.
by
Antonin Dvorak

From his famous article Franz Schubert in the Century Magazine, July 1894

composer

1894

The figure small but stocky, with strongly developed, firm bones and firm muscles, rounded rather than angular. Neck short and powerful; shoulders, chest and pelvis broad and finely arched; arms and thighs rounded; hands and feet small, his walk brisk and vigorous. His head, which was rather large, round and strongly built, was surrounded by a shock of brown curly hair ... His eyes, which were soft and, if I am not mistaken, light brown in colour and which burned brightly when he was excited, were heavily overshadowed by rather prominent orbital ridges and bushy eyebrows... Nose medium size, blunt, rather turned up... On his chin the so called beauty dimple.
by
Georg Franz Eckel

From a letter to Luib, 24th November 1857, quoted in the Memoirs

friend

1857

Schubert too wrote for silence : Half his work lay like a frozen Rhine till summers came and warmed the grass above him. Even so : his music lives now with a mighty youth.
by
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

Source unknown. Quoted by Eva Mary Grew in her Franz Schubert A sequence of Sonnets and a Prose Anthology

writer

1831-1900

Salieri's advice to Schubert that he should "husband his resources of melody" was about as useful as a warning to an artesian well not to waste its water.
by
Henry Theophilus Finck

From his book Songs and Song Writers.

writer

1831-1900

Think what the first appearance of these godlike pieces must have been! It was the rising of the Sun! He is now an everyday sight to us; but how was it the first time that he burst in all his brightness on the eyes of mortals?
by
Sir George Grove

From his famous biographical article Schubert from his Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st edition, Vol 3, p. 334.

writer

1831-1900

The reason why he wrote eight operas in one year was no doubt in great measure because he happened to meet with eight librettos; had it been four or twelve instead of eight the result would have been the same.
by
Sir George Grove

From his famous biographical article Schubert from his Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st edition, Vol 3, p. 324.

writer

1831-1900

Alas, I shall soon have to say good-bye to my beloved friend, Franz Schubert, and I do not know how to. We have been such inseperable companions for months and months, and close friends for years, and how lovable he is! I have got to know him so intimately - and yet - how dare I say so? In his great symphony in C he towers so high, so far above [all] but a very few of the "Chosen and Elect," that it is presumptuous in me to say I understand him. I can only gaze and worship him, and humbly thank God for having given us such a genius.
by
Sir George Grove

From a private letter 'to a friend', quoted by Schauffler in his biography, p. 365.

writer

1831-1900

No memoir of Schubert can ever be satisfactory, because no relation can be established between his life and work, or rather, properly speaking, because there is no life to establish a relation with.
by
Sir George Grove

From his famous biographical article Schubert from his Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st edition, Vol 3, p. 361.

writer

1831-1900

Had but a portion of the pains been spent on the musical education of Schubert that was lavished on that of Mozart or of Mendelssohn, we can hardly doubt that even his transcendent ability would have been enhanced by it, that he would have gained that control over the prodigious spontaneity of his genius which is his only want, and have risen to the very highest level in all departments of composition, as he did in songwriting.
by
Sir George Grove

From his famous biographical article Schubert from his Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1st edition, Vol 3, p. 321.

writer

1883

Good God, it makes one's blood boil to think of so fine and rare a genius, one of the ten or twelve topmost men in the world, in want of even the common necessaries of life. Failure, disappointment, depreciation, and suchlike shocks and wounds of the heart and soul, these are the necessary accompaniments of a fine intellect and a sensitive heart; but to want the ordinary comforts and amenities of life, to want bread, it is too dreadful to think of.
by
Sir George Grove

Grove, editor of the famous dictionary that still bears his name, was a great Schubert fan, and this undoubtedly clouded his judgement from time to time. His biography of Schubert in the first edition of his Dictionary of Music and Musicians shows that he believed in most of the 'old wives tales' about Schubert, and even invented his own, especially with his argument for a 'lost' symphony from Gstein/Gmunden from 1825, which scholarship from the first SIUK chairman, John Reed, finally showed was actually the Symphony #9 in C major ('Great'), D944. This quote is from Groves' appendix to the English translation of Kreissle von Hellborn's biography by Coleridge.


writer

1869

If Schubert's contemporaries rightly gazed astonishingly at his creative power, what shall we, who come after him, say, as we incessantly discover new works of his? For thirty years the master has been dead, and in spite of this it seems as if he goes on working invisibly - it is impossible to follow him.
by
Eduard Hanslick

From his book Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien, 1869. Quoted by Gibbs in The Cambridge Companion to Schubert, amongst others.

Music critic

1869

...Schubert had but little technique, Vogl had not much of a voice, but they both had such life and feeling, and were so completely absorbed in their performances, that the wonderful compositions could not have been interpreted with greater clarity and, at the same time, with greater vision.
by
Ferdinand Hiller

From an article on Vienna 52 years ago, 1879, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 283.

composer

1879

To my self-conscious, pointless question as to whether he wrote much (a manuscript lay on his standing-desk), he answered: "I compose every morning - when one piece is finished I start another".
by
Ferdinand Hiller

From an article on Vienna 52 years ago, 1879, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 284.

composer

1879

Although Schubert never represented himself as a (piano) virtuoso, any connoisseur who had the chance of hearing him in the private circles will nevertheless attest that he knew how to treat this instrument with mastery and in a quite peculiar manner , so that a great specialist in music, to whom he once played his last sonatas, exclaimed: 'Schubert, I almost admire your playing even more than your compositions!"
by
Johann Evangelist Horzalka

Ferdinand Schubert quotes Horzalka in an article from the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik in 1839. This article is quoted in full in Schubert A Documentary Biography.

friend

1831-1900

...he disliked bowing and scraping, and listening to flattering talk about himself he found downright nauseating.
by
Anselm Hüttenbrenner

Undated notes for Liszt, probably from the early 1850s, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 179

friend & composer

1831-1900

When I visited him for the first time, and it was in winter and extremely cold, I found him in a dimly lit, damp, unheated little room; he was sitting wrapped up in an old, threadbare dressing-gown, freezing with cold and - composing.
by
Anselm Hüttenbrenner

Undated notes for Liszt, probably from the early 1850s, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 179

friend & composer

1831-1900

Towards the fair sex he was boorish and, consequently, anything but gallant. He neglected his appearance, especially his teeth, and smelt strongly of tobacco and so was quite unqualified to be a gay Lothario.
by
Anselm Hüttenbrenner

Notes to Luib, 1st April 1858, quoted at length in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 70.

friend & composer

1831-1900

In the realm of song, of romances, hymns and ballads, as well as of men's choruses and vocal quartets, Anselm stands as high as Beethoven and Schubert. In the ballad Anselm surpasses Schubert ... like Schubert, he [Anselm] may with absolute justice be called the spiritual heir and successor of Beethoven and the Mozart of this century...
by
Josef Hüttenbrenner

Letter to Thayer, 8 October 1860, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 190.

friend

1831-1900

Tietze was absolutely opposed to a Requiem, he said Schubert was a good song-writer but a Requiem which was only merited by great composers, he did not deserve.
by
Josef Hüttenbrenner

Letter to unknown recipient, 7 and 12 March 1868, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 191.

friend

1831-1900

...but his body, strong as it was, succumbed to the cleavage in his - souls - as I would put it, of which one pressed heavenwards and the other bathed in slime;
by
Josef Kenner

From a letter to Anton Kenner, for Luib, 21 April 1858, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 82.

friend

1831-1900

Anyone who knew Schubert knows how he was made of two natures, foreign to each other, how powerfully the craving for pleasure dragged his soul down to the slough of moral degredation, and how highly he valued the utterances of friends he respected, and so will find his surrender to the false prophet, who embellished sensuality in such a flattering manner, all the more understandable.
by
Josef Kenner

Notes for Luib, 10 May 1858, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 86.

friend

1831-1900

If ever there lived a 'naif' music-composer in the highest sense of the epithet, that man assuredly was Franz Schubert.
by
Heinrich Kreissle von Hellborn

From his biography, the first on Schubert, in an English translation by Coleridge, Vol 2, p. 263

writer

1831-1900

Once when Schubert was playing the Fantasia, Op. 15, to a circle of friends and broke down in the last movement, he sprang up from his seat with the words: "Let the devil play the stuff!"
by
Leopold Kupelwieser

Notes for Kreißle von Hellborn, about 1860, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 194.

friend

1831-1900

A round, fat, somewhat puffy face, an arched forehead, pursed-up lips, a snub nose and curly, though rather scanty hair gave his head an original appearance. His height was below the average, his back and shoulders rounded. His facial expression was not uninteresting.
by
Franz Lachner

From his Memoirs of Schubert, 1881, quoted in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 288.

friend & composer

1831-1900

Our pianists scarcely realise what a glorious treasure they can find in Schubert's piano compositions ... As a bird lives in the air, so he lived in music, and in doing so sang melodies fit for angels.
by
Franz Liszt

Letter to Sigmund Lebert, 2 Dec 1868. Quoted by Peter Clive in his Schubert and his World, p. 119.

composer

1831-1900

Such is the spell of your emotional world that it very nearly blinds us to the greatness of your craftsmanship.
by
Franz Liszt

Quoted by Alfred Brendel in Musical thoughts and afterthoughts, p. 74

composer

1831-1900

...le musicien le plus poëte qui fut jamais.
...the most poetic musician that ever lived.
by
Franz Liszt

The composer Liszt was another composer who promoted Schubert, especially with his transcriptions of Schubert songs to piano solos and his willingness to stage the first performance of Schubert's Alfonso und Estrella. This quote comes from a long postscript to a long letter from Liszt printed in the French journal Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, 2nd September 1838, quoted by Duncan, and others


composer

1831-1900

Schubert? Play his music, sing his songs, and you will know more about him than I can tell you!
by
Eusebius Mandyczewski

Recorded by Hans Gàl, quoted in Maurice Brown's Essays on Schubert, p. 192.

musicologist

1831-1900

I have reason to believe that my performance of the C-major Symphony in 1856 was the first in England, although I remember hearing one of the members of my then very small band speak of a rehearsal of it under the late Dr Wylde, when at the close of the first movement the principal horn called out to one of the first violins, "Tom, have you been able to discover a tune yet?" "I have not," was Tom's reply.
by
August Manns

From the Musical Times February 1897, quoted in Duncan's biography.

performer

1897

A deep shade of suspicion, we regret to say, is beginning to be cast over the authenticity of posthumous compositions. The defunct popular composer not only becomes immortal in the poetical sense, but, by a curious felicity which publishers can best explain, actually goes on composing after he is dead. All Paris has been in a state of amazement at the posthumous diligence of the song-writer F. Schubert, who, while one would think his ashes repose in peace at Vienna, is still making eternal new songs, and putting drawing-rooms in commotion.
by
Musical World (writer unknown)

Musical World 1839 (French Magazine) quoted by Duncan and many others

writer

1831-1900

Once more, and a thousand times more, Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert are the highest summits in music.
by
Anton Rubinstein

Quoted by Dvorák in his article Franz Schubert in the Century Magazine, July 1894, he quotes Die Musik und Ihre Meister as the source.

composer

1831-1900

Schubert then let himself go to pieces; he frequented the city outskirts and roamed around in taverns, at the same time admittedly composing his most beautiful songs in them, just as he did in the hospital too (the " Müllerlieder ", according to Hölzel),
by
Franz von Schober

Written notes of a conversation with Ludwig August Frankl, June 1868, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 266

friend

1831-1900

...this heaven-inspired clairvoyant who, as it were, simply shook his most glorious things out of his sleeve.
by
Karl von Schönstein

Schönstein, an aristocrat, was an admired singer of Schubert's songs, who helped to spread the word about Schubert by singing at private musical parties. He was the dedicatee of Die schöne Müllerin. His comment articulated a view prevalent in several of Schubert's friends who did not understand Schubert's compositional processes. From notes Schönstein sent to Ferdinand Luib, who was preparing a biography. Given in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p102.


friend & performer

1831-1900

Only the excellence of a work like Schubert's D minor quartet - and of many other things - can in any way console us for the early death of this eldest son of Beethoven; in a short time he accomplished and perfected more than anyone before him.
by
Robert Schumann

From his article on a retrospective view of musical life in Leipzig, from the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p391.

composer

1831-1900

...Schubert, whose name, I thought, should only be whispered at night to the trees and stars.
by
Robert Schumann

From his article on the Impromptus, D935 from the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p293

composer

1831-1900

(On the C Major Symphony) And then the heavenly length of the symphony, like that of one of Jean Paul's romances in four thick volumes, never able to come to an end, for the very best reasons - in order to leave the reader able to go on romancing for himself.
by
Robert Schumann

From the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p54 Franz Schubert’s C-Major Symphony

composer

1831-1900

...he would have gradually set the whole German literature to music.
by
Robert Schumann

From the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p58

composer

1831-1900

Time, though producing much that is beautiful, will not soon produce another Schubert.
by
Robert Schumann

From a review of the Piano Trio in B flat major, D 898

composer

1831-1900

He did enough; and those must be honoured who have striven and accomplished as he has done.
by
Robert Schumann

From his article on the Impromptus, D935 from the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p299.


composer

1831-1900

Schubert will always remain the favourite of youth.
by
Robert Schumann

From his article on the Impromptus, D935 from the first part of the English translation of Schumann's collected writings, London: Reeves, 1877. Music and musicians, essays and criticisms, p294


composer

1831-1900

(when asked by a Viennese lady what Schubert looked like, answered in his devastating way): "Like a drunken cabby!"
by
Moritz von Schwind

From the article Das Schubert-Monument, by Ludwig Speidl, 25 May 1866

friend

1831-1900

At the Crystal Palace there is an understanding among the regular frequenters that a performance of Schubert's symphony in C is one of the specialities of the place. The analytic programme of it is one of Sir George Grove's masterpieces - and Mr Manns [the conductor] always receives a special ovation at the end. The band rises to the occasion with its greatest splendour; and I have to make a point of looking pleased, lest Sir George should turn my way and, reading my innermost thoughts, cut me dead for ever afterwards. For it seems to me all but wicked to give the public so irresistible a description of all the manifold charms and winningness of this astonishing symphony and not tell him, on the other side of the question, the lamentable truth that a more exasperatingly brainless composition was never put on paper.
by
George Bernard Shaw

Before he made his name as a playwright, George Bernard Shaw earned his living as a music critic. It would appear that he was not a fan! Published in The World, 23 March 1892.

writer

1831-1900

Poor Schubert ... here lays out ... with a conviction that if he hurries fast enough he will presently overtake Mozart and Beethoven, who are not to be caught up in a thousand miles by any man with second-rate brains, however wonderful his classical endowment.
by
George Bernard Shaw

Before he made his name as a playwright, George Bernard Shaw earned his living as a music critic. It would appear that he was not a fan! Published in The World, 23 March 1892.

writer

1831-1900

... for he had no idea of domestic economy and was often led by his tavern friends (mostly painters or poets and only a few musicians) into useless expenditure from which the others benefited more than he did himself.
by
Leopold von Sonnleithner

Notes for Luib, 1 November 1857, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 108.

friend

1831-1900

Schubert was extraordinarily fertile and industrious in composing. For anything else that goes by the name of work he had no use.
by
Leopold von Sonnleithner

Notes for Luib, 1 November 1857, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 109.

friend

1831-1900

Schubert was below average height, with a round, fat face, short neck, a not very high forehead, and thick, brown, naturally curly hair; back and shoulders rounded, arms and hands fleshy, short fingers, main potelée; his eyes (if I am not mistaken) grey-blue, eyebrows bushy, nose stubby and broad thick lips; the face somewhat negroid.
by
Leopold von Sonnleithner

Notes for Luib, 1 November 1857, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 121.

friend

1831-1900

When the publishers told him that people found the accompaniment to his songs too hard and the keys often too difficult, and that, in his own interest, he ought to pay more attention to this, he always replied that he could not write differently and that anyone who could not play his compositions should leave them alone and a person to whom one key was not as easy as another was, anyhow, not in the least musical.
by
Josef von Spaun

Notes for Luib 1858, quoted in an English transltion in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p.140

friend

1831-1900

Schubert (who, in money matters, was an absolute child) was satisfied with whatever they gave him, and so he could not even earn the barest necessities of existence.
by
Josef von Spaun

Notes for Luib 1858, quoted in an English transltion in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p.134

friend

1831-1900

...he sang the whole of the "Winterreise" through to us. We were quite dumbfounded by the gloomy mood of these songs and Schober said he had only liked one song, "Der Lindenbaum". To which Schubert only said, "I like these songs more than all the others and you will get to like them too".
by
Josef von Spaun

Spaun was one of Schubert's best and most constant friends, from the time they met soon after Schubert arrived at the Stadtkonvikt to a few days before he died. Schubert was right, of course! From notes Spaun made for Luib and Kreissle. Given in an English translation in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p138.


friend

1831-1900

One day ... he looked me frankly in the eyes and said "Do you really think something will come of me?" I embraced him and said "you have done much already and time will enable you to do much more and great things too". Then he said quite humbly: "Secretly, in my heart of hearts, I still hope to be able to make something of myself, but who can do anything after Beethoven?".
by
Josef von Spaun

Notes for Luib 1858, quoted in an English transltion in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p.128

friend

1831-1900

... the singer, Stockhausen, took three times as much for a single performance of the Müllerlieder, in the Musikvereinssaal, as Schubert had received for composing them.
by
Josef von Spaun

From his Memoirs, 1864, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 356.

friend

1831-1900

Poor Schubert, so young and at the start of such a brilliant career! What a wealth of untapped treasures his death has robbed us of!.
by
Josef von Spaun

Notes for Luib 1858, quoted in an English transltion in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p.139.

friend

1831-1900

Anyone who has seen him of a morning occupied with composition, aglow, with his eyes shining and his speech changed, like a somnambulist, will never forget the impression.
by
Josef von Spaun

Notes for Luib 1858, quoted in an English transltion in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p.138.

friend

1831-1900

Simple and good-natured in his relations with others, completely unpretentious, bordering on negligence in his outward appearance and averse to every affectation, he was happiest in the gay circle of his friends and apparently phlegmatic, but at the same time ardent, temperament was not lacking in wit and good-humour.
by
Albert Stadler

Notes for Luib January - June 1858, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 146.

friend

1831-1900

It was interesting to see him compose. He very seldom made use of the pianoforte while doing it. He often used to say it would make him lose his train of thought. ... He would ... bite his pen, drum with his fingers at the same time, trying things out, and continue to write easily and fluently, without many corrections, as if it had to be like that and not otherwise. And how right he was!
by
Albert Stadler

Notes for Luib January - June 1858, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 146.

friend

1831-1900

But the admission of all that Sir G. Grove claims for Schubert as a composer would be tantamount to lowering very much the standards and requirements of instrumental music of the first class; and without grudging him his private pleasure and satisfaction in the contemplation of his Schubert, I must candidly aver, not only that I do not share this enthusiasm to anything like the same extent, but that I think it desirable, in the interests of a true musical criticism, that musical readers generally should not share it, or at least that they should be admonished to think twice before doing so.
by
Henry Heathcote Statham

From an essay in the Edinburgh Review in 1883 on Schubert, Chopin, Lizst reprinted in his book My thought on Music and Musicians. (1892)

writer

1883

... Schubert's works ... are flabby, and therein reflect their author's whole life and character. Schubert's life and works, indeed, suggest a lesson almost as much moral as artistic - that the most strong and healthy form of art, as of character, is not to be developed by giving one's self up to emotional impulses, however beautiful and attractive; that the strong artist, as well as the strong man, is he who is the master; not the servant, of his fancy and inspiration.
by
Henry Heathcote Statham

From an essay in the Edinburgh Review in 1883 on Schubert, Chopin, Lizst reprinted in his book My thought on Music and Musicians. (1892)

writer

1883

...there are two kinds of composition, one which, as in Schubert's case, comes into existence during a state of clairvoyance or somnambulism, without any conscious action on the part of the composer…
by
Johann Michael Vogl

From a letter to Albert Stadler, 15 Nov 1831

friend & performer

1831-1900

Before Schubert's genius we must all bow and if he does not come we must crawl after him on bended knee.
by
Johann Michael Vogl

Quoted by Adam Heller in a letter to Luib, 25 July 1858

friend & performer

1831-1900

One thing, perhaps, I ought to add for the sake of truth, although I do not like doing it; namely the observation that Schubert was as undistinguished as a person as he was distinguished as a composer.
by
Kunigunde Vogl

From a note to her daughter Henriette, c 1850, quoted in Schubert Memoirs by his Friends, p. 217-8

friend

1831-1900

He sings as the bird sings, from an irresistable impulse. The bird never sings because it ought, but because it must. And when it has nothing to sing about, it is silent.
by
Kenyon West (Frances Louise Morse Howland )

From her article The Centenary of Franz Schubert in The Outlook, 1897.

writer

1831-1900

There was really only one possible teacher for the young Schubert, and that one also impossible, the deaf Beethoven.
by
Ralph Bates

From his biography of Schubert

writer

1901-1950

If he had lived, he would have projected the distinction of his youth into a still riper manhood - into an indescribably fruitful future - and would have become the first and foremost of all.
by
Oscar Bie

From his biography of Schubert

writer

1901-1950

Schubert, of all the great Masters, is seen least clearly as a link in musical evolution. He appears even to a fairly close scruitiny as a curiously detached phenomenon, the characteristics of whose idiom are singularly little apparent in his precursors and become all but lost again after his disappearance
by
Eric Blom

From his article His Favourite Device, in Music and Letters, Schubert Number, October 1928

writer

1901-1950

...Schubert the eternal child in music ...
by
A Brent Smith

From his book Schubert - the Symphonies

writer

1901-1950

Truth compels us to admit that Beethoven rarely achieved such distinctive orchestral effects as does the rather overshadowed Schubert.
by
A Brent Smith

From his book Schubert - the Symphonies

writer

1901-1950