Thursday, 21 May 2009

Talking of Schubert

I am somewhat of a newcomer to the delights of Schubert. Of course, this is how it usually goes - I discover a piece by a previously ignored composer, and then listen to everything I can get my ears on.

Being aware of his reputation, I'd tried over the years: the Unfinished Symphony; his Great Symphony in C - his ninth and last - plus others. It wasn't until I heard the piano impromptus, specifically Impromptus Op. posth. 142, that I had my epiphany. Intense, pulsating, sparkling and sublime, I set about ransacking the local second-hand CD shops of all Schubert, and I'm still wading through it.

There are many high points, but the Fifth Symphony just does me in. I can never listen to Beethoven's Seventh without filling up (it's essentially an expression of insane joy - go figure), but, in my entirely unqualified opinion, I reckon Schubert's Fifth matches Ludwig Van's achievement, perhaps even surpasses. Minty Fresh's 5-year-old lugs would prick up when I played it, and we'd have an enthusiastic performance of the latest moves garnered in ballet class, and nowadays she'd quite happily la-la-la her way through every note of every movement if you let her.

Schubert died of syphilis at 31. Despite his short life, he produced a wealth of symphonies, operas, masses, chamber music pieces, and piano sonatas. I want my lugholes back.

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