Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Donald Macleod is joined by writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson to explore the highly productive 'Indian summer' of Schubert's final years.

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
012008050520090629

The programme concentrates on the composer's last symphony, the 'Great'.

Die Allmacht (Omnipotence) (with words by Pyrker), D852

Elizabeth Connell (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Symphony in C, D944 (Great)

Cleveland Orchestra

George Szell (conductor)

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

1/5.

The programme concentrates on the composer's last symphony, the 'Great'.

0120100419

Donald Macleod explores the remarkable musical output of the teenage Schubert.

This prodigiously talented composer led a very full but all too brief life, dying at the age of just 31, in 1828.

He is probably best known for the vast number of songs he wrote throughout his life - around 600 of them, including the two song cycles 'Die Schöne Müllerin' and 'Winterreise' plus some of the most popular symphonic and chamber music in the repertoire, such as the 'Unfinished' and 'Great C major' Symphonies and the 'Trout' Quintet.

This week Donald Macleod looks at the important role the colourful individuals in Schubert's social circle had on him and his music, and how his decadent lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.

He was an intensely prolific composer - in his 18th year alone he produced around 200 works.

And in spite of immense mental and physical problems he continued to do so, writing some of his best-loved music in his final year.

Schubert suffered from severe mood swings most of his adult life.

When he was in his mid-twenties, they became far more extreme and his friends reported periods of dark despair and violent anger.

It's hard to know at this distance, to what extent his decadent lifestyle affected his behaviour but it greatly increased his chances of succumbing to one of the major killers of the time - syphilis.

From then on, his fate was sealed - although he had periods of remission, it irreparably damaged his health and if typhoid fever hadn't struck him down first, would undoubtedly have killed him.

In the first programme, Donald looks at Schubert's teenage years when he had already developed a musical maturity well beyond his years, including two of his most popular Goethe settings, a symphony written for his friends and family to play and his first mass, conducted by the composer, at the tender age of seventeen.

011815 Day20120324

1/8 In the first of an extended series for The Spirit of Schubert, Donald Macleod follows the young composer as he deals with some traditional teenage rites of passage: his first job and his first serious girlfriend.

Donald Macleod on how a young Schubert dealt with traditional teenage rites of passage.

01A Miracle Year *2006010920070416

During 1814-15, aged only seventeen, Schubert composed prolifically, while the city of his birth played host to the Congress of Vienna.

With Donald Macleod.

Gretchen am Spinnrade

Barbara Bonney (soprano)

Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

String Quartet No 9 in G minor (excerpt)

Kodaly Quartet

Mass No 2

Thomas Puchegger (treble)

Jorg Hering (tenor)

Harry Van Der Kamp (bass)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Bruno Weill (conductor)

Symphony No 2 (excerpt)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor)

Erlkonig

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano).

Donald Macleod reviews Schubert's life during 1814-15 when, aged only 17, he composed prolifically, while the city of his birth played host to the Congress of Vienna.

String Quartet No 9 in Gm (extract)

Kodály Quartet

Dawn Upshaw (soprano)

David Gordon (tenor)

William Stone (baritone)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Robert Shaw (conductor)

Symphony No 2 (extract)

Erlkönig: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

01Franz Schubert (1797-1828)20110627

Donald Macleod on the challenges Schubert faced as he tried to carve a career for himself.

Viennese composer Franz Schubert is best known not only for the remarkable quantity and quality of songs he produced in his short life but for some of the most popular chamber music ever written.

Donald Macleod introduces a selection of music from across the range of Schubert's prodigious output and reflects on the colourful but ill-fated life of this complex character.

Though Vienna in the early 19th century was bursting with musical entertainment, money-making opportunities were few and far between for a budding composer.

In the first programme Donald looks at the challenges encountered by Schubert as he tried to carve a career for himself and introduces works performed by the family and friends who did so much to help spread his name.

01From Schoolmaster To Socialite20140120

Donald Macleod on how the teenage Schubert began to make a name for himself in Vienna.

The teenage composer Schubert begins to make a name for himself in his native Vienna

Donald Macleod explores the fascinating relationship between Franz Schubert's expanding circle of friends in Vienna, and the music he composed sometimes at their behest, and sometimes unbeknownst to them.

As a 16 year old, Schubert was faced with a dilemma: whether or not to stay in full-time education? In the event, he chose to leave academia and train as an assistant schoolmaster. He worked at his father's own establishment, with some 200 boys packed into the family's small apartment. Despite these unpromising conditions, Schubert succeeded in writing numerous works for various combinations, some of them acknowledged masterpieces.

The first piece of Schubert's to be performed in public was a setting of the Mass. His father was so delighted with his son's achievement that he promised to purchase Franz a top-of-the-range fortepiano. This performance was also the likely catalyst for another significat moment in young Schubert's life, a new love affair.

Marriage was evidently out of the question for an impoverished assistant schoolmaster. In any case, Schubert had other social interests. He was introduced to the melancholic poet Mayrhofer, and later to the man to whom many would attribute his moral and physical decline, Franz von Schober. So close did these two friends become that they even called themselves 'Schobert'. This growing circle of intellectual and artistic friends would prove an important influence on Schubert, eventually persuading him to abandon the schoolroom for the then precarious career of freelance composer.

Donald Macleod on how the teenage Schubert began to make a name for himself in Vienna.

The teenage composer Schubert begins to make a name for himself in his native Vienna

Donald Macleod explores the fascinating relationship between Franz Schubert's expanding circle of friends in Vienna, and the music he composed sometimes at their behest, and sometimes unbeknownst to them.

As a 16 year old, Schubert was faced with a dilemma: whether or not to stay in full-time education? In the event, he chose to leave academia and train as an assistant schoolmaster. He worked at his father's own establishment, with some 200 boys packed into the family's small apartment. Despite these unpromising conditions, Schubert succeeded in writing numerous works for various combinations, some of them acknowledged masterpieces.

The first piece of Schubert's to be performed in public was a setting of the Mass. His father was so delighted with his son's achievement that he promised to purchase Franz a top-of-the-range fortepiano. This performance was also the likely catalyst for another significat moment in young Schubert's life, a new love affair.

Marriage was evidently out of the question for an impoverished assistant schoolmaster. In any case, Schubert had other social interests. He was introduced to the melancholic poet Mayrhofer, and later to the man to whom many would attribute his moral and physical decline, Franz von Schober. So close did these two friends become that they even called themselves 'Schobert'. This growing circle of intellectual and artistic friends would prove an important influence on Schubert, eventually persuading him to abandon the schoolroom for the then precarious career of freelance composer.

01Turning Point20150202
01Turning Point20150202
01Turning Point2015020220150824 (R3)

At the end of 1822, the 25-year-old Viennese composer Franz Schubert discovered he was suffering from a disease for which there was no known cure. He had just six years left to live but in that time he wrote some of his greatest masterpieces. Donald Macleod introduces some of the remarkable works from those years beginning with a piano sonata containing some of Schubert's most sombre music to date and, by way of complete contrast, his genial and ever-popular Octet.

Lachen und Weinen D777

Arleen Auger (soprano)

Lambert Orkis (fortepiano)

Gondelfahrer D809

John Mark Ainsley, Jamie MacDougall (tenors)

Simon Keenleyside (baritone)

Michael George (bass)

Graham Johnson (piano)

'Weit über glanz und Erdenschimmer' (Fierrabras, Act II)

Florinda, Cheryl Studer (soprano)

Maragond, Brigitte Balleys (mezzo)

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Conductor, Claudio Abbado

Piano Sonata in A minor D784

Stephen Hough

Trockne Blumen (Die schöne Müllerin, No.18)

Matthias Goerne (baritone)

Christophe Eschenbach (piano)

Octet (Final movement)

Vienna Octet.

01Turning Point20150202
01Turning Point20150202

With a piano sonata containing some of Schubert's most sombre music to date.

At the end of 1822, the 25-year-old Viennese composer Franz Schubert discovered he was suffering from a disease for which there was no known cure. He had just six years left to live but in that time he wrote some of his greatest masterpieces. Donald Macleod introduces some of the remarkable works from those years beginning with a piano sonata containing some of Schubert's most sombre music to date and, by way of complete contrast, his genial and ever-popular Octet.

0220100420

Donald Macleod on an operetta that gave Schubert the chance to break into the theatre.

This prodigiously talented composer led a very full but all too brief life, dying at the age of just 31, in 1828.

He is probably best known for the vast number of songs he wrote throughout his life - around 600 of them, including the two song cycles 'Die Schöne Müllerin' and 'Winterreise' plus some of the most popular symphonic and chamber music in the repertoire, such as the 'Unfinished' and 'Great C major' Symphonies and the 'Trout' Quintet.

This week Donald Macleod looks at the important role the colourful individuals in Schubert's social circle had on him and his music, and how his decadent lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.

He was an intensely prolific composer - in his 18th year alone he produced around 200 works.

And in spite of immense mental and physical problems he continued to do so, writing some of his best-loved music in his final year.

Schubert suffered from severe mood swings most of his adult life.

When he was in his mid-twenties, they became far more extreme and his friends reported periods of dark despair and violent anger.

It's hard to know at this distance, to what extent his decadent lifestyle affected his behaviour but it greatly increased his chances of succumbing to one of the major killers of the time - syphilis.

From then on, his fate was sealed - although he had periods of remission, it irreparably damaged his health and if typhoid fever hadn't struck him down first, would undoubtedly have killed him.

Today, Donald looks at two works which came into being thanks to the intervention of two friends - a commission for an operetta gave Schubert the chance to break into the theatre world and a holiday encounter with a wealthy music-lover resulted in one of Schubert's most popular chamber works to this day.

0220110628

Donald Macleod focuses on some of Schubert's closest and most influential friends.

Schubert and his circle of friends formed themselves into a kind of brotherhood, bound together by a desire for self-improvement and a passion for poetry and music.

Donald Macleod introduces some of his closest and most influential friends - whose poetry Schubert set to music - and looks at his relationship with two important women in his life and some of the works with which they were associated.

02*2006011620090630

Donald Macleod is joined by writer and broadcaster Stephen Johnson to explore Schubert's last mass, considered by many to be a neglected masterpiece.

02*20080506

The programme concentrates on Schubert's last mass, considered by many to be a neglected masterpiece.

Standchen (Serenade) (text by Grillparzer), D 920

Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano)

Alan Armstrong, Jason Bella, Mark Hammond, Philip Lawford, Arthur Linley, Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenors)

David Barnard, David Beezer, Duncan Perkins, James Pitman, Christopher Vigar (baritones/basses)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Mass in E flat for five solo voices, mixed chorus and orchestra, D950

Benjamin Schmidinger (soprano)

Albin Lenzer (alto)

Jorg Hering, Kurt Azesberger (tenors)

Harry van der Kamp (bass)

Vienna Boys Choir

Peter Marschik (chorus master)

Chorus Viennensis

Guido Mancusi (chorus master)

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Bruno Weil (conductor).

02Death and the Maiden20150203

02Death and the Maiden2015020320150825 (R3)

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

2 Ländler, D618

Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Franz (piano)

8 Variations in A flat, D813

Alexandre Tharaud, Zhu Xiao-Mei (piano)

String Quartet No.14 in D minor, D810, 'Death and the Maiden' (4th mvt)

Belcea Quartet

Ellens Gesang I, D837

Marie McLaughlin (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Symphony No.9 in C, D944, 'Great' (3rd mvt)

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor, Simon Rattle.

02Death and the Maiden2015020320150825 (R3)

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

2 Ländler, D618

Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Franz (piano)

8 Variations in A flat, D813

Alexandre Tharaud, Zhu Xiao-Mei (piano)

String Quartet No.14 in D minor, D810, 'Death and the Maiden' (4th mvt)

Belcea Quartet

Ellens Gesang I, D837

Marie McLaughlin (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Symphony No.9 in C, D944, 'Great' (3rd mvt)

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor, Simon Rattle.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Donald Macleod introduces music inspired by conflicting emotions and stirring places.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Donald Macleod introduces music inspired by conflicting emotions and stirring places.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Donald Macleod introduces music inspired by conflicting emotions and stirring places.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Donald Macleod introduces music inspired by conflicting emotions and stirring places.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

02Death and the Maiden20150203

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

02Death And The Maiden20150203

Donald Macleod introduces music inspired by conflicting emotions and stirring places.

Schubert never married but during his short life fell in love with several, mostly unattainable, women. In the summer of 1824 Schubert formed a passion bordering on the obsessive for Caroline Esterhazy who was thought to be the inspiration behind all Schubert's future works. The following year it was the spectacular scenery of Upper Austria which formed the creative impulse behind what came to be regarded as his greatest symphonic achievement. Donald Macleod introduces part of the symphony, plus a song-setting of words by the hugely popular Scottish novelist of the day - Sir Walter Scott, a set of variations for piano duo written for Caroline Esterhazy and the turbulent final movement from one of his best-loved quartets, written at a time of deep depression.

02First Steps As A Freelance20140121

Donald Macleod discusses Schubert's introduction to Viennese singer Johann Michael Vogl.

Franz Schubert gains the support of a powerful ally and sponsor for his songs.

In today's episode, Donald recounts Schubert's first, awkward introduction to one of Vienna's most prestigious opera singers of the day, Johann Michael Vogl. Vogl was a man who had evidently grown tired of music and musicians, and whose idea of relaxation was translating classical Greek. Luring Vogl into the Schubert circle was far from easy, but once he was forced into listening to some of the young man's songs he was captivated, later expressing his incredulity that 'such depth and maturity could emanate from the little young man'.

Schubert had abandoned the schoolroom for the precarious life of a freelance composer, and friends such as Vogl would prove crucial for such success as he was to enjoy in his short life. It was a holiday to Steyr in the company of Michael Vogl that would inspire Schubert to compose the Trout Quintet, at the behest of a mining official and amateur cellist. There were other amusements besides the mountain scenery: Schubert noted the presence of eight girls in the house where he lodged, 'nearly all of them pretty'. It was to one of them, Josefine von Koller, that he dedicated a piano sonata in A major.

Schubert's main ambition at this time was to compose a successful opera for the Vienna stage. The results of his labour met with limited success, and Die Zwillingsbruder or the Twin Brothers only staggered on for a few performances, and nearly caused a riot on the first night. As Donald Macleod recounts, one of Mozart's sons was distinctly underwhelmed by the production. Believing Schubert to be a 'beginner' he noted in his diary that 'most people felt farce wasn't Schubert's strongest suit'. In fact, Schubert was anything but a beginner in music, and in private he was pursuing new, and perhaps strange pathways, including the tantalising and dramatic Quartettsatz.

Donald Macleod discusses Schubert's introduction to Viennese singer Johann Michael Vogl.

Franz Schubert gains the support of a powerful ally and sponsor for his songs.

In today's episode, Donald recounts Schubert's first, awkward introduction to one of Vienna's most prestigious opera singers of the day, Johann Michael Vogl. Vogl was a man who had evidently grown tired of music and musicians, and whose idea of relaxation was translating classical Greek. Luring Vogl into the Schubert circle was far from easy, but once he was forced into listening to some of the young man's songs he was captivated, later expressing his incredulity that 'such depth and maturity could emanate from the little young man'.

Schubert had abandoned the schoolroom for the precarious life of a freelance composer, and friends such as Vogl would prove crucial for such success as he was to enjoy in his short life. It was a holiday to Steyr in the company of Michael Vogl that would inspire Schubert to compose the Trout Quintet, at the behest of a mining official and amateur cellist. There were other amusements besides the mountain scenery: Schubert noted the presence of eight girls in the house where he lodged, 'nearly all of them pretty'. It was to one of them, Josefine von Koller, that he dedicated a piano sonata in A major.

Schubert's main ambition at this time was to compose a successful opera for the Vienna stage. The results of his labour met with limited success, and Die Zwillingsbruder or the Twin Brothers only staggered on for a few performances, and nearly caused a riot on the first night. As Donald Macleod recounts, one of Mozart's sons was distinctly underwhelmed by the production. Believing Schubert to be a 'beginner' he noted in his diary that 'most people felt farce wasn't Schubert's strongest suit'. In fact, Schubert was anything but a beginner in music, and in private he was pursuing new, and perhaps strange pathways, including the tantalising and dramatic Quartettsatz.

02Schubert And Friends20120325

2/8 As he entered his twenties, Schubert was finally persuaded by his friends to abandon his hated teaching job and take his chances as a professional composer. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod on how Schubert was finally persuaded to take his chances as a composer.

02The Bildung Circle *2006011020070417

Donald Macleod looks at the influence of Schubert's idealistic group of friends on the composer's life and work.

Memnon; Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren

Thomas Hampson (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Am Bach im Fruhling; An die Musik

Markus Eiche (baritone)

Jens Fuhr (piano)

Sanft und still schlaft unser Freund (Lazarus, final chorus Act 1)

Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart

Bach-Collegium Stuttgart

Helmuth Rilling (conductor)

Symphony No 5

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (conductor).

Am Bach im Frühling; An die Musik

Lazarus [extract]

Final chorus Act 1: Sanft und still schläft unser Freund

Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart

5th Symphony

0320100421

Donald Macleod introduces two works which reflect the extremes of Schubert's temperament.

This prodigiously talented composer led a very full but all too brief life, dying at the age of just 31, in 1828.

He is probably best known for the vast number of songs he wrote throughout his life - around 600 of them, including the two song cycles 'Die Schöne Müllerin' and 'Winterreise' plus some of the most popular symphonic and chamber music in the repertoire, such as the 'Unfinished' and 'Great C major' Symphonies and the 'Trout' Quintet.

This week Donald Macleod looks at the important role the colourful individuals in Schubert's social circle had on him and his music, and how his decadent lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.

He was an intensely prolific composer - in his 18th year alone he produced around 200 works.

And in spite of immense mental and physical problems he continued to do so, writing some of his best-loved music in his final year.

Schubert suffered from severe mood swings most of his adult life.

When he was in his mid-twenties, they became far more extreme and his friends reported periods of dark despair and violent anger.

It's hard to know at this distance, to what extent his decadent lifestyle affected his behaviour but it greatly increased his chances of succumbing to one of the major killers of the time - syphilis.

From then on, his fate was sealed - although he had periods of remission, it irreparably damaged his health and if typhoid fever hadn't struck him down first, would undoubtedly have killed him.

Today, Donald Macleod introduces two works which reflect the polar extremes of Schubert's temperament, written at time when his mental health began to deteriorate.

0320110629

Donald Macleod introduces a selection of Schubert's songs, part-songs and chamber music.

In Schubert's Vienna, a great deal of music-making took place in the homes of the middle-classes and aristocracy.

Schubert's songs in particular were a popular fixture at many a musical soire, and as his popularity grew, concerts devoted entirely to his music were organised by friends and admirers.

Donald Macleod introduces a selection of Schubert's songs, part-songs and chamber music, typical of the works performed at such gatherings and often with Schubert himself at the piano.

03*20080507

The programme considers the importance of Beethoven for Schubert, and introduces Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat.

Auf dem Strom (On the River), D 943 (text by Rellstab)

Michael Schade (tenor)

David Pyatt (horn)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Piano Sonata in B flat, D 960

Stephen Kovacevich (piano).

03* *2006011720090701

Donald Macleod considers the importance of Beethoven for Schubert and introduces Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat.

03A Man Of Two Natures20140122

Donald Macleod focuses on the price Schubert paid for his love of sensual pleasures.

Franz Schubert pays a heavy price for his sensual pleasures

Schubert was to face many frustrations before he could gain public recognition for his work. His setting of the Erlkönig was rejected by one major publisher, and dismissed as 'trash' by another Herr Schubert to whom it had been sent in error. When the song finally made its way into print it proved to be a best seller.

Although his ambitions to become a success on the opera stage were still faltering, Schubert found that his songs were beginning to open doors in Biedermeier Vienna. He was in demand as a composer of part songs, popular with drinking and glee clubs. Schubert did his best to rescue that genre from its bibulous associations, the same cannot be said of the composer himself. Frequently hungover, there's no doubt Schubert was partying hard, and would pay a high price for his dissipation and debauchery. He was both drinking and smoking heavily, and there's even a suggestion he may have been an occasional user of opium. Some have suggested this is one of the reasons why his Unfinished Symphony would remain only two movements, rather than three or four.

Schubert's friends recalled that he was a man of 'two natures, foreign to each other...the craving for pleasure dragged his soul down to the slough of moral degradation'. He eventually become infected by syphilis and some have heard his Wanderer Fantasy as an expression of his anger at his condition. Where or not that is true, there's no doubt about his anger on finding that the pianistic showpiece was beyond his own technical abilities: 'Let the devil play the stuff!' he once shouted in disgust at his efforts.

Presented by Donald Macleod.

03Hedonism *2006011120070418

Donald Macleod looks at the Schubertiads, parties in and around Vienna where the composer's works would be performed amongst his circle, plus other sources of amusement for Schubert and his friends in the city.

Waltz No 30, D365

Alfred Kitchin (piano)

Overture to Alfonso und Estrella

Berlin State Orchestra

Otmar Suitner (conductor)

Schwestergruss

Geraldine McGreevy (soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Gloria and Credo (Mass in A flat)

Helen Donath, Lucia Popp (sopranos)

Brigitte Fassbaender (alto)

Francisco Araiza, Adolf Dallapozza (tenors)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bass)

Chor und Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)

Valses Sentimentales

Alice Ader (piano).

Donald Macleod looks at the Schubertiads, parties in and around Vienna where the composer's works would be performed amongst his circle, and the other sources of amusement for Schubert and his friends in the city.

Waltz D365 no 30

Alfonso und Estrella: Overture

Berlin State Orchestra/ Otmar Suitner

Geraldine McGreevy (soprano)/ Graham Johnson (piano)

Mass in A flat: Gloria & Credo

Helen Donath (sop)/ Lucia Popp (sop)/ Brigitte Fassbaender (alto)/ Francisco Araiza (tenor) Adolf Dallapozza (tenor)/ Dietrich Fischer Dieskau (bass)/ Chor und Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/ Wolfgang Sawallisch

03Recognition20150204

03Recognition2015020420150826 (R3)

Throughout his career, Schubert was keen for his talents to be recognised by the influential Viennese music society, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. By 1825 Schubert's vocal quartets and lighter piano music were increasingly performed at their Thursday chamber concerts and he was elected one of the twenty 'deputies' of the committee of the Society. There was little public appetite for Schubert's more serious chamber music however and he had great difficulty getting any of it published. Donald Macleod introduces one of the sonatas Schubert finally saw into print in 1827, regarded by Schumann as Schubert's 'most perfect work, both in form and conception' plus some settings of verses by a budding young poet and the last of his three great string quartets.

Trinklied D888

Richard Jackson (baritone)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Wiegenlied D867

Christine Schäfer (soprano)

Graham Johson (piano)

String Quartet in G, D887 (1st mvt)

Artemis Quartet

Piano Sonata in G, D894 (2nd mvt)

Paul Lewis (piano)

Der Wanderer an den Mond D870

Grab und Mond D893

Nachthelle D892

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

London Schubert Chorale

03Recognition20150204

03Recognition20150204

Donald Macleod presents works from the period of Schubert's growing reputation.

03Recognition20150204

Donald Macleod presents works from the period of Schubert's growing reputation.

03Recognition20150204

03Recognition20150204

Throughout his career, Schubert was keen for his talents to be recognised by the influential Viennese music society, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. By 1825 Schubert's vocal quartets and lighter piano music were increasingly performed at their Thursday chamber concerts and he was elected one of the twenty 'deputies' of the committee of the Society. There was little public appetite for Schubert's more serious chamber music however and he had great difficulty getting any of it published. Donald Macleod introduces one of the sonatas Schubert finally saw into print in 1827, regarded by Schumann as Schubert's 'most perfect work, both in form and conception' plus some settings of verses by a budding young poet and the last of his three great string quartets.

03Recognition20150204

Throughout his career, Schubert was keen for his talents to be recognised by the influential Viennese music society, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. By 1825 Schubert's vocal quartets and lighter piano music were increasingly performed at their Thursday chamber concerts and he was elected one of the twenty 'deputies' of the committee of the Society. There was little public appetite for Schubert's more serious chamber music however and he had great difficulty getting any of it published. Donald Macleod introduces one of the sonatas Schubert finally saw into print in 1827, regarded by Schumann as Schubert's 'most perfect work, both in form and conception' plus some settings of verses by a budding young poet and the last of his three great string quartets.

03Recognition20150204

Donald Macleod presents works from the period of Schubert's growing reputation.

Throughout his career, Schubert was keen for his talents to be recognised by the influential Viennese music society, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. By 1825 Schubert's vocal quartets and lighter piano music were increasingly performed at their Thursday chamber concerts and he was elected one of the twenty 'deputies' of the committee of the Society. There was little public appetite for Schubert's more serious chamber music however and he had great difficulty getting any of it published. Donald Macleod introduces one of the sonatas Schubert finally saw into print in 1827, regarded by Schumann as Schubert's 'most perfect work, both in form and conception' plus some settings of verses by a budding young poet and the last of his three great string quartets.

03Schubert And Vienna20120326

3/8 Schubert was coming into his maturity as a composer but failing to make much of an impact with audiences and publishers in Vienna. Donald Macleod follows him to the first 'Schubertiad' where his music was performed and enjoyed at private gatherings of his friends.

Donald Macleod explores Schubert's struggle for wider appreciation of his music.

0420100422

Donald Macleod explains Schubert's struggle following his diagnosis of syphilis.

This prodigiously talented composer led a very full but all too brief life, dying at the age of just 31, in 1828.

He is probably best known for the vast number of songs he wrote throughout his life - around 600 of them, including the two song cycles 'Die Schöne Müllerin' and 'Winterreise' plus some of the most popular symphonic and chamber music in the repertoire, such as the 'Unfinished' and 'Great C major' Symphonies and the 'Trout' Quintet.

This week Donald Macleod looks at the important role the colourful individuals in Schubert's social circle had on him and his music, and how his decadent lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.

He was an intensely prolific composer - in his 18th year alone he produced around 200 works.

And in spite of immense mental and physical problems he continued to do so, writing some of his best-loved music in his final year.

Schubert suffered from severe mood swings most of his adult life.

When he was in his mid-twenties, they became far more extreme and his friends reported periods of dark despair and violent anger.

It's hard to know at this distance, to what extent his decadent lifestyle affected his behaviour but it greatly increased his chances of succumbing to one of the major killers of the time - syphilis.

From then on, his fate was sealed - although he had periods of remission, it irreparably damaged his health and if typhoid fever hadn't struck him down first, would undoubtedly have killed him.

In this programme - having succumbed to the killer disease syphilis, Schubert's struggles to come to terms with his bleak prospects.

Donald Macleod introduces a string quartet which seems to reflect his frame of mind, part of a grand, heroic-Romantic opera and a set of variations inspired by an unattainable woman.

0420110630

Donald Macleod introduces two works written after a dramatic change in Schubert's health.

Schubert had suffered from a form of manic depression for most of his adult life but his mood swings became more extreme when he contracted syphilis at the age of 25, a disease from which he would never recover.

Donald Macleod introduces two works written after this dramatic change in Schubert's circumstances - a turbulent piano work and a string quartet which demonstrates a new emotional maturity and a quality of sadness even in the music's happiest moments.

04*20080508

The programme looks at two valedictory works from Schubert's final weeks - the motet Tantum ergo and the troubled String Quintet, which gathered dust for 25 years after the composer's death but is now regarded as one of the masterpieces of chamber music.

Tantum ergo for soloists, chorus and orchestra, D962

Lucia Popp (soprano)

Brigitte Fassbaender (contralto)

Adolf Dallapozza (tenor)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (bass)

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Wolfgang Sawallisch (conductor)

String Quintet in C, D956

Heinrich Schiff (cello)

Alban Berg Quartet

04* *2006011820090702

Donald Macleod looks at two valedictory works from Schubert's final weeks - the motet Tantum ergo and the troubled String Quintet, which gathered dust for 25 years after the composer's death but is now regarded as one of the masterpieces of chamber music.

04City Of Music *2006011220070419

Donald Macleod looks at whether Schubert's path ever crossed Beethoven's in Vienna, Europe's capital of music at that time.

Eight Variations on a French song in E minor

Duo Crommelynck

Die junge Nonne

Janet Baker (mezzo)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Octet (extract)

The Gaudier Ensemble.

Donald Macleod looks at whether Schubert's path ever crossed Beethoven's in Vienna, at that time Europe's capital of music.

Eight Variations on a French song in Em

04Song Cycles And Symphonies20140123

Donald Macleod discusses Schubert's hopes to achieve public acclaim as a symphonist.

Franz Schubert hopes to achieve public acclaim as symphonist.

Schubert's health was in rapid decline. Nevertheless, despite his frequent excesses in the tavern, he continued to produce works of enduring greatness. His first song cycle, Die Schöne Müllerin or the Maid of the Mill was produced at a time when he had all but lost his hair, due to the mercury treatment for his syphilis. As Donald Macleod notes in today's programme, the cycle can be interpreted as a lament for lost innocence.

Schubert appears to have been subject to violent mood-swings, sometimes even pointlessly destroying cups, glasses and plates to deliberately create havoc. Despite his occasional antisocial behaviour, Schubert was by no means an outcast; indeed, as an elected member of the committee of Vienna's prestigious musical society, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, he was almost in danger of becoming part of the musical establishment. Holidaying in Upper Austria in May 1825, he was astonished to find that his compositions were everywhere, particularly songs and piano duets for the home musician. During this time, Schubert was sketching and working hard to complete his great C-major symphony, his ninth (although the first that he would present for public performance). This was dedicated to the Gesellschaft but its length and difficulty militated against a performance during his lifetime.

Presented by Donald Macleod

04The Beginning Of The End20150205

04The Beginning Of The End2015020520150827 (R3)

As Schubert's reputation grew, so too did respect for his music amongst the professional musicians of Vienna. Schubert wrote two chamber works with some of these musician friends in mind - a virtuosic piece for violin and piano, and a delightfully lyrical piano trio. Donald Macleod introduces both works plus an excerpt from his bleakly beautiful song-cycle 'Winterreise'.

An die Laute

Bryn Terfel (baritone)

Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Polonaise in D minor D824 no.1

Anthony Goldstone, Caroline Clemmow (piano)

Rondo in B minor, D895

Alina Ibragimova (violin)

Cédric Tiberghien (piano)

Ständchen D920

Birgit Remmert (alto)

RIAS Chamber Choir

Director, Marcus Creed

Winterreise D911 (Excerpt)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

Jörg Demus (piano)

Piano Trio No.1 in B flat, D898 (final mvt)

Florestan Trio.

04The Beginning Of The End20150205

Donald Macleod introduces works Schubert wrote with some of his musician friends in mind.

As Schubert's reputation grew, so too did respect for his music amongst the professional musicians of Vienna. Schubert wrote two chamber works with some of these musician friends in mind - a virtuosic piece for violin and piano, and a delightfully lyrical piano trio. Donald Macleod introduces both works plus an excerpt from his bleakly beautiful song-cycle 'Winterreise'.

04The Outdoors20120327

4/8 Donald Macleod joins Schubert and his friends on their various excursions to the Austrian countryside, where the composer was inspired to create several brilliant masterpieces and one operatic disaster.

Donald Macleod joins Schubert at work and at play in the Austrian countryside.

05*20060119
05Schubert The Wanderer20120328

5/8 The years 1822-3 witnessed some unsettling changes in Schubert's circumstances. His old circle of friends was breaking up and a serious illness threatened to ruin all his aspirations. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod on how the years 1822-3 saw some unsettling changes in Schubert's life.

05Swansong20150206

05Swansong2015020620150828 (R3)

In 1828, the last year of his life, Schubert looked forward to a concert of his own music at Vienna's most prestigious concert venue and the prospect of generating some much needed cash. Donald Macleod introduces a trio for tenor, horn and piano which featured in that programme, plus another of Schubert's popular piano duets. We also hear the Adagio from his sublime String Quintet and a selection of songs from a set gathered together by his publisher, known collectively as Schubert's Swansong.

Der Tanz D826

Patricia Rozario (soprano)

Catherine Denley (alto)

Ian Bostridge (tenor)

Michael George (bass)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Auf dem Strom D943

Mark Padmore (tenor)

Paul Lewis (Piano)

Richard Watkins (horn)

Lebensstürme D947

Evgeny Kissin

James Levine (piano)

String Quintet in C, D956 (slow mvt)

Hagen Quartet

Heinrich Schiff (cello)

Am Meer; Der Doppelgänger (Schwanengesang)

Matthias Goerne (baritone)

Alfred Brendel (piano).

05Swansong2015020620150828 (R3)

In 1828, the last year of his life, Schubert looked forward to a concert of his own music at Vienna's most prestigious concert venue and the prospect of generating some much needed cash. Donald Macleod introduces a trio for tenor, horn and piano which featured in that programme, plus another of Schubert's popular piano duets. We also hear the Adagio from his sublime String Quintet and a selection of songs from a set gathered together by his publisher, known collectively as Schubert's Swansong.

Der Tanz D826

Patricia Rozario (soprano)

Catherine Denley (alto)

Ian Bostridge (tenor)

Michael George (bass)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Auf dem Strom D943

Mark Padmore (tenor)

Paul Lewis (Piano)

Richard Watkins (horn)

Lebensstürme D947

Evgeny Kissin

James Levine (piano)

String Quintet in C, D956 (slow mvt)

Hagen Quartet

Heinrich Schiff (cello)

Am Meer; Der Doppelgänger (Schwanengesang)

Matthias Goerne (baritone)

Alfred Brendel (piano).

05Swansong20150206

Donald Macleod introduces music from the final year of Schubert's life.

In 1828, the last year of his life, Schubert looked forward to a concert of his own music at Vienna's most prestigious concert venue and the prospect of generating some much needed cash. Donald Macleod introduces a trio for tenor, horn and piano, which featured in that programme, plus another of Schubert's popular piano duets. We also hear the adagio from his sublime String Quintet and a selection of songs from a set gathered together by his publisher, known collectively as Schubert's Swansong.

Der Tanz D826

Patricia Rozario (soprano)

Catherine Denley (alto)

Ian Bostridge (tenor)

Michael George (bass)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Auf dem Strom D943

Mark Padmore (tenor)

Paul Lewis (Piano)

Richard Watkins (horn)

Lebensstürme D947

Evgeny Kissin, James Levine (piano)

String Quintet in C, D956 (slow mvt)

Hagen Quartet

Heinrich Schiff (cello)

Am Meer; Der Doppelgänger (Schwanengesang)

Matthias Goerne (baritone)

Alfred Brendel (piano).

05The Final Years20140124

05 LAST20080509

The programme looks at the songs written during the composer's final months, grouped together by an enterprising publisher under the title Schwanengesang, or Swansong.

Herbst, D945

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Schwanengesang, D957

Hans Hotter (baritone)

Gerald Moore (piano).

05 LAST20100423

Donald Macleod explores introduces music from Schubert's final years.

This prodigiously talented composer led a very full but all too brief life, dying at the age of just 31, in 1828.

He is probably best known for the vast number of songs he wrote throughout his life - around 600 of them, including the two song cycles 'Die Schöne Müllerin' and 'Winterreise' plus some of the most popular symphonic and chamber music in the repertoire, such as the 'Unfinished' and 'Great C major' Symphonies and the 'Trout' Quintet.

This week Donald Macleod looks at the important role the colourful individuals in Schubert's social circle had on him and his music, and how his decadent lifestyle contributed to his untimely death.

He was an intensely prolific composer - in his 18th year alone he produced around 200 works.

And in spite of immense mental and physical problems he continued to do so, writing some of his best-loved music in his final year.

Schubert suffered from severe mood swings most of his adult life.

When he was in his mid-twenties, they became far more extreme and his friends reported periods of dark despair and violent anger.

It's hard to know at this distance, to what extent his decadent lifestyle affected his behaviour but it greatly increased his chances of succumbing to one of the major killers of the time - syphilis.

From then on, his fate was sealed - although he had periods of remission, it irreparably damaged his health and if typhoid fever hadn't struck him down first, would undoubtedly have killed him.

Donald Macleod introduces music from those final years including part of the intensely felt song-cycle Die Winterreise, the bright and breezy Shepherd on the Rock and the brilliant finale of his last symphony.

05 LAST20110701

Donald Macleod introduces music from Schubert's final years.

In the 18 months before he died, Schubert wrote some of the most remarkable works of his life.

Donald Macleod introduces part of Schubert's song cycle telling of a young man's journey through a bleak winter landscape, and one of his last chamber works, performed at the only all-Schubert concert ever to take place in his lifetime, just 8 months before his death at the age of 31.

05 LAST*2009070820090703

Donald Macleod looks at the songs written during Schubert's final months, grouped together by an enterprising publisher under the title Schwanengesang, or Swansong.

Herbst, D945

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Schwanengesang, D957

Hans Hotter (baritone)

Gerald Moore (piano).

Donald Macleod focuses on the songs Schubert wrote during his final months.

05 LASTNo More Waltzes *2006011320070420

Donald Macleod looks at Schubert's final year, during which life became increasingly serious for the still-young composer, and his works became laced with melancholy.

Der Wegweiser (Winterreise) orch.

Webern

Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo)

Aribert Reimann (piano)

Sehnsucht; Der Wanderer an den Mond

Winterreise (extract)

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

Alfred Brendel (piano)

Benedictus and Agnus Dei (Mass in E flat)

Benjamin Schmidinger (soprano)

Albin Lenzer (alto)

Jorg Hering (tenor)

Kurt Azesberger (tenor)

Harry van der Kamp (bass)

Chorus Viennensis

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Bruno Weil (conductor)

Symphony No 10 in D (extract)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Charles Mackerras (conductor).

Donald Macleod looks at Schubert's final year, during which life became increasing serious for the still-young composer, and his works became laced with melancholy.

Mass in E flat (extract: V.

Benedictus & VI.

Agnus Dei)

Jörg Hering (tenor)

Symphony No.

10 in D (extract)

Sir Charles Mackerras (conductor).

05 LASTThe Final Years20140124

Donald Macleod on the extraordinary fertility of Schubert's mind during his last two years

Donald Macleod looks at the extraordinary fertility of Schubert's mind during his last two years.

One of Schubert's more remarkable creations is the song-cycle Winterreise or Winter Journey, setting the poems of Wilhelm Müller. It's a composition that astounded Schubert's many friends when they first heard the composer singing through this bleak work in its entirety: "We were quite dumfounded by the gloomy mood of these songs' recalled one friend, Josef von Spaun, 'From then on Schubert was a sick man'.

Tempting as it is to see the cycle as a harbinger of Schubert's doom, it seems that the composer was no less convivial than in earlier, happier times - as Donald recounts, he even went down to his local pub on completing the first half of the cycle! And musically, too, Franz Schubert was eager to pursue new genres, with commercial potential. His Impromptus, for example, contain moments of quicksilver brilliance.

Once again, his friends encouraged Schubert to seek out greater public recognition. Planning a concert at the hall of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna's prestigious music society, the composer worked hard to complete a varied programme of new works, including a new string quartet and his magnificent Piano Trio in E flat. The concert was well attended, and brought in much needed receipts to swell Schubert's bank balance. But in the papers there was deafening silence. Vienna's critics were more interested in the pyrotechnics of Paganini. Even Schubert himself would blow a great deal of money for a top-price ticket for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the violinist in action.

One key work from this year is the profound piano duet, the Fantasy in F, which Schubert dedicated to Princess Caroline Esterhazy. There is strong evidence that Schubert was in love with her, and that she was something of a muse to his romantic yearnings. It's not clear if the princess either reciprocated, or was even aware of his feelings for her!

Donald concludes this week's look at the life, loves and friendships of Franz Schubert with what is possibly his last completed work, the show-stopping aria written at the request of the opera singer Anna Milder-Hauptmann. This is The Shepherd on the Rock, a work in which the shepherd expresses his hopes for the spring - a spring which the composer would never live to see.

06Classical Or Romantic?20120329

6/8 Schubert's home town was also the adopted home of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Donald Macleod explores how living in the shadow of these Viennese masters affected Schubert's life and music.

Exploring the effect on Schubert of living in the shadow of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.

07Who Is Schubert?20120330

7/8 Throughout the 1820s, Schubert's status as a composer had been steadily rising but his friends worried as his increasingly erratic behaviour began to threaten his reputation. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Donald Macleod on how Schubert's erratic behaviour began to threaten his reputation.

08 LASTThe Final Year20120331

8/8 Much of the music from Schubert's last year seems to bear dark portents, but Donald Macleod explores some late works that show the doomed composer in a more optimistic mood.

Schubert: Tantum ergo D.962

Barbara Bonney (soprano), Dalia Schaechter (alto), Jorge Antonio Pita (tenor), Andreas Schmidt (bass), Concert Association of Vienna State Opera Chorus, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, conducted by Claudio Abbado

Deutsche Grammophon 4354862, t7

Schubert: Vor meiner Wiege D.927

Christoph Genz (tenor), Wolfram Rieger (piano)

Naxos 8554796, t7

Schubert: Auf dem Strom D.943

Barbara Hendricks (soprano), Radu Lupu (piano), Bruno Schneider (horn)

EMI CDC7542392, t5

Schubert: Rondo D.951

Claire D�sert, Emmanuel Strosser (piano)

virgin Classics 5622242, CD1, t11

Schubert: Standchen D.957/4

Schubert: Die Taubenpost D.965A

Benjamin Luxon (baritone), David Willison (piano)

Chandos CHAN8721, t14

Schubert: Offertorium: Intende voci D.963

Werner Hollweg (tenor), RIAS Chamber Choir, RSO Berlin, conducted by Marcus Creed

Capriccio 10244, t9.

Donald Macleod explores late works by Schubert expressing a more optimistic mood.