Schubert: The Music and the Man
Of all the great composers, none, not even Mozart, has been so dogged by myth and misunderstanding as Schubert. Since the 1920s, when the musical Blossom Time hit the stage, the notion of Schubert as a pudgy, love-lorn Bohemian schwammerl (mushroom) scribbling gemlich tunes on the back of menus in idle moments has never been quite eradicated. But in this major new biography (the first comprehensive work on Schubert in over fifty years) Brian Newbould lays to rest the stereotype of the composer plucking melodies out of the air, relying on instinct more than well-honed craft. Instead he paints a vivid and compelling portrait of a man who was compulsively dedicated to his art, a composer so prolific that he produced roughly one thousand works in an eighteen year period.
Gifted with an intuitive know-how, coupled with a Mozartian facility for composition, Schubert combined the relish and wonder of an amateur with the discipline and technical rigor of a professional. He moved quickly and comfortably among genres, and sometimes composed directly into score; but many pieces required painstaking revision before they satisfied his growing self-criticism. Examining afresh the enigmas surrounding Schubert's religious outlook, his loves, his sexuality, his illness and death, Newbould offers above all a celebration of a unique genius, an idiosyncratic composer of an astonishing body of powerful, enduring music.
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Schubert, the music and the manUser Review - Book Verdict
Among what will certainly be a flood of monographs on the life and works of Franz Schubert during this bicentennial year of his birth, this contribution is a significant event. Newbould (music, Univ. of Hull) has long been at the forefront of Schubert scholarship, having published a previous work on the composer in England and completed several of the composer's unfinished works. The subtitle of this volume tells it all: Newbould's interest is primarily in the music itself. The text is peppered throughout with musical examples, yet the analysis is in a readable, jargon-free prose that will engage scholars and nonscholars equally. Biography is not ignored, however. Newbould presents a thorough, cautious accounting of Schubert's life, dealing sensitively and soberly with such controversial issues as the composer's self-destructive behavior and his ambivalent sexuality. Highly recommended for all libraries.--Larry A. Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, Pa.
Review: Schubert: The Music and the ManUser Review - Lucy Pollard-Gott - Goodreads
Brian Newbould emphasizes a detailed musical analysis of Schubert's complete output which was astonishing given his early death. I would have liked some separat biographical chapters, but I could not ... Read full review