The Schubertiades

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Franz Schubert's songs and small piano pieces, with their lyrical melodies and poignant harmonies, mark him as the first truly sensuously romantic musician. Schubert's work coincided with the mature development of the piano and its dissemination into the homes of the new rising middle class. On this episode, compositions by music's first lyric genius of romanticism: Franz Schubert.

Schubert lived to compose. His many friends formed a network to help him achieve this dream, meeting regularly at their various homes for what they called Schubertiades. These consisted of poetry readings, charades, dancing, as well as performances of Schubert's newest works. After considerable drinking and high spirits, Schubert usually stumbled back to his room quite drunk, and keeping his spectacles on while he slept so to begin composing immediately upon awakening, as a new song was usually forming.

Very little is known of Schubert's inner world. In fact, we know less about him than any other master of the romantic age. He was never married, seldom wrote letters, was painfully shy, and was self-conscious about being extremely short at five-foot-one-inch tall. At the Schubertiades, he never danced, but sat at the piano improvising dances for his friends. Many of his compositions are imbued with a love of the beautiful Austrian countryside, evoking a rustic quality. Others are loveable waltzes and lyrical beauties filled with the song and dance of the Austrian people, or of his own personal suffering.

Playlist

Schubert: Minuetto from Sonata, Op. 78 D894 / Arthur Rubinstein

Schubert: Sonata in A minor, D845 IV: Rondo, Allegro Vivace / Wilhelm Kempff

Schubert: Hungarian Melody / Frank Levy

Schubert: Three Waltzes / David Dubal

Schubert: Selection from Twelve Landler, D. 790, Op. posth 171 / Matthew Graybil

Schubert: Sonata in A D959 II: Andantino / Arthur Schnabel

Schubert/Liszt: Erlkonig / Jorge Bolet

Schubert: Sonata in D Major D850 I: Allegro vivace / Emil Gilels

Schubert: Allegro from "Wanderer" D760 / Claudio Arrau

Comments [9]

cristina from NYC

There is no one like David Dubal to keep classical music alive and well. He manages to keep me totally engaged with his phenomenal storytelling skills and boundless knowledge of composers. I hope WQXR keeps him on beyond the 13-week series. He is surely one of a kind! Thank you, David Dubal.

Apr. 17 2013 12:00 AM
Meredith from nyc

The New Jersey station wwfm has his show on every wed at 10pm, called The Piano Matters with David Dubal
(piano music in comparative performances)

Why isn't Wqxr broadcasting this? Why New Yorkers deprived of this?

Apr. 14 2013 02:50 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Nice personal touch from Mr. Dubal with his own playing of "three little waltzes" by Schubert. This was for me something of a stark contrast because I'd just listened to his WWFM podcast of April 3 where the seemingly always placid raconteur shows a bit of acid tongue.

http://www.wwfm.org/webcasts_pianomatters.shtml

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This is "The Piano Matters." I'm so glad that we're able to be together. I hope you're having a quiet hour. Quiet is hard to get as I've said many times and it's also so important.
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Dubal then plays a 19th century piece by a pianist/composer, which Dubal says he hadn't heard before but wants to share the first time experience with listeners.

The piece seemed fine to me. Certainly well fitting with any desire for a "quiet hour." As I've posted before, I believe people listen to radio stations not because a preponderance of enjoyable music is played but instead, because detestable (to the particular listener) music is rarely played. This piece fit into the acceptable, if not terribly noteworthy category.

Dubal's response?

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I hope I never have to hear it again. There's nothing wrong with it but I mean I can't really again waste .. you know four minutes, or three and a half minutes even. That's a LONG TIME. You know what you can do in three minutes?!! So, I won't hear it again and I don't know if you want to but if you can you can get it on the ...."
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This, after notable quotes from George Carlin and John Steinbeck (which reminded me of a '60's' quote from actor Michael Caine, where he noted a difference between American and English masses - English poor wanted to tear down the rich while American poor wanted to become like the rich.)

I can't see how I could ever become like Mayor Mike who wants more and more billions yet objects to any raise in the minimum wage. Can you see the similarity to the problems derived from pop soda sizes? Diabetes of the exploitation of common people. The current world's most virulent parasitic disease.

I hope Mr. Dubal is doing well. He's very special and very rare.

Apr. 13 2013 02:09 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

The web page doesn't list a short piece that Mr. Dubal describes as played by Matthew Graville (spelling?). On checking it seems to be an excerpt from Schubert's 12 Ländler, which I've only seen listed as D790 rather than the D750 mentioned. ??

Apr. 13 2013 12:52 PM
Ray Willingham` from NYC

Thanks so much for your program Thursday evening dedicated to Franz Schubert. In many ways, he is the most inspiring to me of all the composers of the Romantic Period. May I point out, however, one apparent slip of the tongue, a very minor one certainly? While explaining the 'D' and its meaning followed by a number next to a Schubert composition, you said that the 'D' stands for Deutsche, clearly pronouncing the final 'e.' In fact it would be more accurate to point out that it stands for the last name of Otto Erich Deutsch, the first person to compile a comprehensive listing of the complete works of Schubert, which was published in 1951.

Apr. 12 2013 02:54 AM
Ray Willingham` from NYC

Thanks so much for your program Thursday evening dedicated to Franz Schubert. In many ways, he is the most inspiring to me of all the composers of the Romantic Period. May I point out, however, one apparent slip of the tongue, a very minor one certainly? While explaining the 'D' and its meaning followed by a number next to a Schubert composition, you said that the 'D' stands for Deutsche, clearly pronouncing the final 'e.' In fact it would be more accurate to point out that it stands for the last name of Otto Erich Deutsch, the first person to compile a comprehensive listing of the complete works of Schubert, which was published in 1951.

Apr. 12 2013 02:54 AM
Lee Lieberman from Fort Lee, NJ

David Dubal's commentary is always informative.
The wonderful old recordings are interesting and stimulating.
I believe he's the first to use "stupefy" on WQXR;
Bravo!

Apr. 11 2013 08:24 PM
Lochlan from Manhattan

I have listened to David Dubal for some years and recognize with passionate appreciation his programs and their importance to me and others. His program tonight on Schubert just changed my life. Many thanks to David and WQXR.

Apr. 11 2013 08:05 PM
maria

Thank you for David Dubal, My husband and I are delighted he's back with his very instructive and beautiful program.

Apr. 11 2013 07:24 PM

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