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Miracle year

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Franz Schubert. Today, a whistle-stop tour of the jaw-droppingly productive year known as Schubert's annus mirabilis, 1815.

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of Franz Schubert. Today, a whistle-stop tour of the jaw-droppingly productive year that’s been called Schubert’s annus mirabilis, 1815.

There were times in Schubert’s brief life when music just seemed to pour out of him. One such was his final year, 1828, during which he wrote, among other things, his E flat major Mass, his F minor Fantaisie for piano duet, the thirteen songs that make up the Schwanengesang collection, the last three piano sonatas and the C major String Quintet, not to mention the completion of his ‘Great’ C major Symphony. But the white-hot heat of his creativity during the year 1815 is perhaps even more remarkable – particularly in view of the fact that he was holding down a day-job at the time, as a teaching assistant in his father’s school. Nonetheless, in his spare time he managed to produce a cantata, a string quartet, one symphony from scratch and the completion of another, pairs of masses and offertories, three movements apiece of two unfinished piano sonatas, four stage works, a couple of dozen part-songs, and something in the region of a hundred and forty solo songs – and that’s not a complete listing. Most of the manuscripts are dated, so we can follow Schubert’s compositional progress through this incredible year pretty much from day to day.

‘Erlkönig’, D328
Bryn Terfel, baritone
Malcolm Martineau, piano

Piano Sonata in E, D157 (1st mvt, Allegro ma non troppo)
Wilhelm Kempff, piano

Mass in G, D167 (Agnus Dei)
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Andreas Schmidt, bass
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Katrine Bryndorf, organ
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Claudio Abbado, conductor

String Quartet in G minor, D173 (2nd mvt, Andantino)
Amadeus Quartet

Der vierjährige Posten, D190 (No 5, ‘Gott! Gott! Höre meine Stimme’)
Helen Donath, soprano (Käthchen)
Munich Radio Orchestra
Heinz Wallberg, conductor

Symphony No 3 in D, D200 (4th mvt, Presto. Vivace)
Orchestra of the 18th Century
Frans Brüggen, conductor

‘Heidenröslein’, D257
Barbara Bonney, soprano
Geoffrey Parsons, piano

‘Gebet während der Schlacht’, D171
Florian Boesch, baritone
Burkhard Kehring, piano

‘An die Nachtigall’, D196
Christian Gerhaher, baritone
Gerold Huber, piano

‘Die Mondnacht’, D238
Sarah Walker, mezzo soprano
Graham Johnson, piano

‘Das Rosenband’, D280
Hans Peter Blochwitz, tenor
Rudolf Jansen, piano

Produced by Chris Barstow

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Franz Schubert

    Erlkonig D.328 Op.1

    Performer: Malcolm Martineau. Singer: Bryn Terfel.
    • DG : 479-0494.
    • DG.
    • 11.
  • Franz Schubert

    Sonata in E Major D.157 1st movement Allegro ma non troppo

    Performer: Wilhelm Kempff.
    • DG : 479-0014.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • 7.
  • Franz Schubert

    Mass No. 2 in G Major D.167 Agnus Dei

    Performer: Chor der Wiener Staatsoper. Performer: Bine Katrine Bryndorf. Singer: Barbara Bonney. Singer: Andreas Schmidt. Orchestra: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG 435 486-2.
    • DG.
    • 6.
  • Franz Schubert

    Quartet in G Minor D.173 2nd Movement Andantino

    Ensemble: Amadeus Quartet.
    • AUDITE 21.428.
    • AUDITE.
    • 10.
  • Franz Schubert

    Der Vierjahrige Posten D.190 No. 5

    Singer: Helen Donath. Orchestra: Münchner Rundfunkorchester. Conductor: Heinz Wallberg.
    • EMI 4 64314 2.
    • EMI.
    • 8.
  • Franz Schubert

    Symphony No. 3 in D Major D.200 4th movement Presto

    Orchestra: Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Conductor: Frans Brüggen.
    • DECCA 478 7839.
    • DECCA.
    • 8.
  • Franz Schubert

    Heidenroslein D.257

    Performer: Geoffrey Parsons. Singer: Barbara Bonney.
    • TELDEC : 4509--90873-2.
    • TELDEC.
    • 8.
  • Franz Schubert

    Gebet Wahrend Der Schlacht D.171

    Performer: Burkhard Kehring. Singer: Florian Boesch.
    • NAXOS 8.570067.
    • NAXOS.
    • 2.
  • Franz Schubert

    An Die Nachtigall D.196

    Performer: Gerold Huber. Singer: Christian Gerhaher.
    • SONY 88883712172.
    • SONY.
    • 14.
  • Franz Schubert

    Die Mondnacht D.238

    Performer: Graham Johnson. Singer: Sarah Walker.
    • HYPERION CDJ33008.
    • HYPERION.
    • 6.
  • Franz Schubert

    Das Rosenband D.280

    Performer: Rudolf Jansen. Singer: Hans Peter Blochwitz.
    • PHILIPS 438 932-2.
    • PHILIPS.
    • 9.

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