11-19: Badfinger Vancouver 1974 - Schubert Symphonies : 5 Wand 2001 | 6 Suitner 1986 | 8 Beecham 1937 | 9 Stock 1940 - Shirley Bergeron : French Rocking Boogie 1957-1969

1630 – Johann Hermann Schein (German composer & singer)
1785 – Bernard de Bury (French court composer & harpsichordist)
1804 – Pietro Guglielmi (Italian opera composer)
1825 – Jan Václav Voříšek (Czech composer, pianist & organist)
1828 – Franz Peter Schubert (Austrian composer & pianist)
1854 – Alberich Zwyssig (Swiss Cistercian monk, choirmaster & composer, Swiss National Anthem)
1928 – Achille Simonetti (Italian violinist & composer, active in England & Ireland)
1929 – Arthur H. Mann (English organist, choirmaster, composer & editor of Church of England Hymnal)
1931 – Frederic Cliffe (English composer)
1974 – George Brunies (American jazz trombonist)
1983 – Tom Evans (English bass guitarist, singer & songwriter, Badfinger)
1995 – Shirley Bergeron (American Cajun singer & steel guitarist)
1995 – Bruce Trent (British pop singer, songwriter & actor)
2004 – George Canseco (Filipino songwriter)
2004 – Terry Melcher (American record producer; son of Doris Day)

Schubert! Lionheart of the Lied, King of Kammermusik, Schubert! None of those for you today, however... I hope you'll be satisfied with a healthy swath of his symphonies, which, while not quite Beethovenian in stature, contain their own unique glories. Speaking of Beethoven, Schubert was quite in awe of him, such that - even though they both resided for years at the same time in Vienna - the shy, generation-younger composer only rarely approached the older master. Beethoven apparently held quite a high opinion of Schubert's music, however.

Imagine, if you will, that Schubert had not died so very young... that he had lived to as old an age as Beethoven did, into his 50s, instead of expiring from syphilis at the age of 31, with his death coming just the very year after Beethoven's. Imagine a Schubert who passed away, say, in 1852 instead of 1828. We would certainly not think of Schubert as a Classical-period composer in that case, or even as a composer who was transitional between the Classical and Romantic periods. I believe we would think of him as a bona fide Romantic composer. We'd tend to mention him less often in the same breath as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and group him more often along with Schumann, Chopin, and Mendelssohn.

And now, just think of the music composed by the middle-aged Schubert. The titanic symphonies and masses, the increasingly weird and sublime song cycles and chamber works. Maybe some operas and oratorios! It's one of the great "what ifs" of music history, and of course it's a totally pointless hypothetical. For Franz Schubert, short-lived as he was, is already among the ten or so greatest composers who ever lived. And that's enough!


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