List of Over 50 Facts About Franz Schubert

Below you will find a list of over 50 fascinating facts about the high lights of Schubert’s Life.

  1. Schubert’s mother, like the mother of Beethoven, had been in service as a cook. His father was a village schoolmaster.
  2. Schubert’s father had nineteen children. Fourteen were the sons and daughters of Elizabeth Fitz, who was the mother of Franz.
  3. Schubert was born January 32, 1797, in the suburb of Vienna known as Himmelpfortgrund (Heaven’s Courtyard)
  4. Schubert stood at the top of his class in day school
  5. Schubert began his musical training at the age of eight, under his father, who taught him violin
  6. Schubert was a pupil of Holzer, the local choirmaster, who told the boy’s father, “Whenever I want to teach him anything new, I find he already knows it.”
  7. Schubert received lessons on the pianoforte from his brother Ignaz, whom he soon outstripeed, so that the older brother confessed, “I soon despaired of overtaking him.”
  8. Schubert had a natural gift for harmony, or, as his teacher, Holzer, expressed it, “He has harmony at his fingers’ ends.”
  9. Schubert’s first piano composition was a Fantasia written at the age of thirteen. His first song, Lament of Hagar, was written at the age of fourteen.
  10. Schubert, at the age of eleven, was admitted to the emperor’s choir and the Imperial School
  11. Schubert had practically no means while at school and, had it not been for a friend, he would never have been supplied with sufficient manuscript paper to contain the over pouring of his youthful inspirations
  12. Schubert made such progress at the Imperial School (Convict) that we soon find his teachers, Salieri and Ruczika, repeating the phrase, “He seems to know everything already – he has been taught by God.”
  13. Schubert enjoyed the privilege of having a strong quartet in his own family, in which he played viola, his brother Ferdinand, first violin, Ignaz the second violin, the father, the cello
  14. Schubert’s father was none to accurate in his playing in the family quartet. When he made a blunder the son would carefully examine the manuscript and say, “Dear father, there must be a mistake in the music somewhere.”
  15. Schubert, at the age of seventeen, wrote two versions of an opera. The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. Both were remarkable. One version was destroyed by some servants who needed paper to kindle a fire.
  16. Schubert was a friend maker. He had no time to waste in antagonizing people, but he always had time to gain their good will and appreciation
  17. Schubert’s father was much opposed to his son’s plan to become a composer, and therefore induced him to take a position as a teacher in the school in which he taught
  18. Schubert taught school for three years. During this time he wrote many of his best known songs. He was an impatient teacher, “keeping his hands in practice on his pupils’ ears.”
  19. Schubert, when seventeen, made the fortunate acquaintance of Mayrhofer, a census official, who spent his spare time writing verse. He provided the lyrics of many of Schubert’s best known songs, as well as two opera librettos
  20. Schubert’s Erl Kin was written in 1816. It was an immediate success and 800 copies were sold in nine months. This was considered an immense sale in that day
  21. Schubert’s friends, contrary to popular opinion, frequently came to his aid. Franz von Schober not only lodged him for a long while, but enabled him to live with the poet, Mayrhofer, so that they might work uninterruptedly
  22. Schubert’s gait was shuffling and his speech stammering. Because of this he failed to impress many people who, carried away by externals, might have helped him
  23. Schubert’s modesty and sincerity brought a rebuke from the great singer, Vogl, “There is some stuff in you, but there it too little of an actor, too little of a charlatan; you squander your fine thoughts instead of developing them.”
  24. Schubert’s friend, Vogl, thirty years his senior, was a fine classical scholar and influenced Schubert greatly in the selection of better verses for his songs
  25. Schubert at the age of twenty had composed 500 works, including masses, operas, sonatas, quartets, cantatas, songs, piano pieces and five symphonies
  26. Schubert, on the bet of a good glass of wine, sat down and dashed off in one evening an overture in C, in imitation of the style of Rossini
  27. Schubert, in 1821, became the household musician of Count Johann Esterhazy, at Zelesz, where he jumped from surroundings of poverty to those of exquisite luxury and abundant leisure for composition
  28. Schubert soon tired of aristocratic surroundings and longed for the friendship of his artist companions in Vienna, to which he returned
  29. Schubert in 1819 wrote to Goethe, sending him three of his songs and hoping for word of praise. No answer ever came from the poet to the composer, who made the most famous setting of any of his poems. Schubert set seventy of Goethe’s poems to music
  30. Schubert’s first songs failed to attract the interest of publishers, who feared their “modern” character and their technical difficulties. Accordingly, a group of Schubert’s friends, including the Sonnleithners, published the first twenty songs privately. This list included such famous songs as The Erl King, Heidenroslein, The Wanderer and Death and the Maiden. Before long publishers were glad to get them, and they have been issued by publishers the world over ever since
  31. Schubert had such a slender technic on the piano that he had difficulty in playing his own Erl Kind and abbreviated the famous triplets to double notes
  32. Schubert, whose romantic tendencies should have made him a very successful opera composer, failed because of the lack of good libretti. He wrote eighteen dramatic works, none of which were really successful. Alfonso und Estrella, considered by many his best opera, was first produced by Liszt at Weimar over a quarter of a century after the death of the composer, who looked for great things from his work. Von Suppe wrote a successful operetta on Schubert, introducing Schubert melodies, and at the present moment one of the successful operas of the day is Blossom Time, a tale of the life of Schubert, with Schubert melodies
  33. Schubert’s compositions, according to his friend Vogl, the singer, “came forth to the world from a state of clairvoyance or somnambulism, without any free will on the part of the composer, the produce of a higher power or inspiration.”
  34. Schubert’s only concert took place six months before his death in Vienna. The concert was a great success and brought Schubert the greatly needed sum of about $150.00
  35. Schubert enjoyed playing for dancing, and would play for hours while his friends danced
  36. Schubert’s business ability in the management of his own affairs was little above that of a child; and his friends had to be constantly on the lookout to keep him from being the victim of swindlers
  37. Schubert’s brother, Ferdinand, was an able musician, who composed much worthy church music. He was successful but had a large family to support. (Seventeen children). He is reported to have descendants living in Europe. His Second Requiem Mass for the dead is said to have been the last music ever heard by Franz
  38. Schubert was very methodical in his habits of composing. He was ready for work the moment he tumbled out of bed in the morning and continued, as a rule, until two o’clock in the afternoon
  39. Schubert never traveled outside his native Austria
  40. Schubert’s friend, Huttenbrenner, tried to get Peters to publish some of Schubert’s works. The polite letter declining them contained the sentence, “I only want works by the masters already recognized by the public.”
  41. Schubert’s famous Unfinished Symphony (No. 8 in B Minor) was written in appreciation of certain kindness shown to the composer by the citizens of Gratz. Written in 1822, it was first given in Vienna in 1856 – thirty seven years after the death of Schubert, who never heard his own most celebrated work
  42. Schubert took his opera, Alfonso und Estrella to Weber, who had been annoyed by Schubert’s criticisms of his Euryanthe. Weber looked at Schubert’s opera and cynically remarked, “First puppies and first operas should always be drowned.” The opera was really Schubert’s twelfth dramatic work; but Weber did not know it. Weber, however, made a sincere effort to get Schubert’s work produced
  43. Schubert’s dramatic work, Rosamunde, considered by many one of his finest inspirations, was given two performances in 1823. The manuscript was then wrapped up and put away, to remain hidden in Vienna, under the dust of half a century, until it was discovered by Sir Arthur Sullivan and Sir George Grove, who went thither to exhume Schubertianna. Grove says that they were nearly smothered with dust in digging it out of the musical catacombs; but when they found it they were so overjoyed that they played leapfrog around the room
  44. Schubert never married, but at one time was said to have been devoted to Caroline Esterhazy, daughter of Count Esterhazy – the difference in the social position making anything more than a platonic romance impossible
  45. Schubert acted as one of the thirty eight torch bearers who preceded the coffin in Beethoven’s funeral procession. He was dressed in mourning, with a bunch of white roses and lilies fastened to the crepe on his arm
  46. Schubert, returning from the Beethoven funeral, entered the Inn at Mehlgrube and called for wine. First he and his friends drank solemnly to the memory of Beethoven, and then to the first of the friends of the great master who should follow him on the long, long, journey. Schubert had little idea that he was drinking to himself
  47. Schubert portraits made during his lifetime are rare. He was by no means a dandy, but liked colorful clothes, and often appeared in a green coat with white pantaloons
  48. Schubert’s last years were hampered by financial conditions, “gloomy and unfavorable.” The returns from publishers were disheartening, and had it not been for his friends he would have suffered immensely
  49. Schubert, according to one report, was arranging only a short while before his death for a special course in counterpoint with the then famous but now little remembered theorist, Sechter
  50. Schubert in one of his last letters writes, “I am ill and have eaten and drunk nothing for eleven days. I have become so exhausted and shaky that I can only get from the bed to the chair and back. In this distressed condition kindly assist me to some reading. Of Fenimore Cooper I have already read ‘The Last of the Mohicans,’ ‘The Spy,’ ‘The Pilot’ and ‘The Pioneers.’
  51. Schubert dies November 19, 1828. His age was only 31. His pathetic epitaph by Gullparzer is “Music has entombed here a rich treasure but still fairer hopes”
  52. Schubert wore spectacles almost all his life and frequently slept in them

Schubert’s effects at the time of his death show, according to his carefully compiled inventory, nothing more than clothes, furniture and “old music,” valued at about twelve dollars. Among the “old music” was the priceless manuscript of the C Major Symphony.