Schubert, Franz Peter
He is said to have brooded over the affair until he was sick in mind and body. However, the truth of this matter has never been settled. From 1818 the young musician's life was uneventful. He traveled very little, passing almost the whole of his short life in or near Vienna. In 1822 Schubert composed his opera, Alfonso and Estrella, and the following year he began his great Unfinished Symphony in B minor, but it was never produced during the composer's lifetime, not indeed until 1865, when it was brought out in Vienna and shortly afterward was heard in London at the Crystal Palace, since which time it has frequently been performed. In 1823 Schubert was urged to write the incidental music to a play, written by the author of the libretto of von Weber's Euryanthe. Rosamund, Princess of Cyprus was the result; but the beauty of the overture, entr'act music and ballet m,usic was utterly lost on the audiences of the time. It fell flat and was performed only twice. All musicians now agree that it is one of the most beautiful works ever written and of lasting value. Two more operas, one never performed, the second, only occasionally given, were composed about this time, but seem in spite of their beauty and melody to have lacked the dramatic symmetry necessary to their success. It was Schubert's greatest desire to be an operatic composer and the failure of his works for the stage to receive any recognition made him extremely low spirited. He found his only joy in work and kept feverishly at it, and it was in his moments of greatest gloom and depression that he poured forth his sweetest songs. He wrote about this time, 1824, a set of songs; sonatas; marches; and quartets. The only break in his quiet, monotonous life was an excursion with his friend, Vogl, the singer, to the Tyrol. In that lovely country he composed his Hymn to the Virgin, and seems to have gained some appreciation from the people whom he met. This trip was the one bright spot in the composer's sad, lonely life. From the Tyrol he went to Salzburg with Vogl, and this was the last journey he ever took. In 1826 Schubert was offered the post of conductor of the Karnthner Theatre in Vienna, but when asked to alter an aria he had written to suit the voice of the chief vocalist, he declined and left the theatre in a huff. His hardships grew worse, and although he wrote with great rapidity he received little or nothing for his compositions. He was in the habit of borrowing sums of money and leaving a manuscript as security with his creditor, and in this way many of his greatest works were undoubtedly lost. Some, it is said, were thought so little of that they were used by his creditors for lighting fires. He composed during the next few years his symphony in C; his mass in E; many of his loveliest songs and the piano impromptus. Shortly before the death of Beethoven, who was always his idol, and of whom he once said: "Who could hope to do anything after Beethoven?", Schubert having heard that the great master admired some of his songs, summoned courage to go to see him. The latter was then on his death-bed, but greeted Schubert with the utmost graciousness and kindness, and declared that his songs could have been written only by a genius. At Beethoven's funeral, shortly afterward, Schubert was one of the thirtyeight torch bearers who preceded the remains to its last resting place, and the story is told that afterward at a tavern, where the party drank to the memory of the great man just gone, Schubert offered a toast to the " first of the assembled company who should follow." He was destined to be that one. Symptoms of typhoid fever made their appearance not long after. The long years of hardship and suffering that the composer had undergone, the lack of proper nourishment at a time when body and brain needed the greatest care had left their mark. His strength was overtaxed and he could not rally, and the disease carried him off, November, 1828, just nineteen months after the great Beethoven had been laid to rest. Only a few days before his death, he visited Sechter, a learned teacher of counterpoint, to arrange to take lessons from him, realizing his shortcomings in this particular. He died after a very short illness and his possessions at his death were inventoried at about $10. His coffin was covered with wreaths by his friends; a laurel wreath being placed upon his brow. The composer was buried in Wahring Cemetery in Vienna, close to the grave of Beethoven, whom he had so reverenced and loved from afar, and in the same plot with Mozart. A concert was given shortly after by his friends to raise the funds to pay for a monument over his grave. Grillparzer, the Gerr man poet, wrote of him and the words were carved on his tombstone : " Fate has buried here a rich possession, but yet greater promise."