Franz Peter Schubert

[Franz Peter Schubert] Composer. Born on 31 January 1797 in Vienna, Austria; died there on 19 November 1828. A pupil of Holzer and Salieri, he gave early promise of genius. His first mass in F was performed in 1814. He composed the Erl King at eighteen. Rosamunde and the Mass in E flat date from 1821 to 1824, his prolific period. The celebrated Ave Maria was written in 1825. The songs, with which his fame is perhaps most closely associated, number over 500. A dozen of them, including the three Shakespearean songs of 1826, and the "Winterreise" cycle of 1827, are considered masterpieces. His orchestral compositions culminated in the C major Symphony of 1828. His gift is illustrated by the wide range of forms in which he composed. He is compared with Beethoven, his contemporary; but he was incapable of that master's labors for perfection, whatever he produced being spontaneous and rarely revised. Dying at the age of 31, as he had lived, in abject poverty and disappointment, unmourned by the world at large, it required the publication of his abundant posthumous works to bring him into prominence. His music is in itself a complete memoir of his life.

New Catholic Dictionary

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