The life of Franz Schubert has been a gift to romantically inclined biographers: the beautiful, brilliant, modest boy who sprang to fully fledged genius at the age of 16; the quintessential "artist in a garret", entirely consumed by his art and living a hand-to-mouth existence in Vienna (home of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven); the gentle, cheerful, convivial young man who prized friendship almost as highly as music itself; the unworldly poet from whom great music poured like water from a fountain; the unrecognized master who died almost penniless at the age of 31. And most of this is true. But, as revealed in this dramatized biography (lavishly illustrated with musical examples), there was a secret, darker side to Schubert which only renders his story that much more fascinating.
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Very well done
I found this story of Schubert's life quite well done. It gave me a much expanded, and more accurate, understanding of this man's life. Although a given listener may complain the book did not include this or that composition amongst those recordings inserted to augment the story line, I found the sampling to be good. I liked the fact that full performances, or large segments, of each piece were played, rather than just short snatches. I also liked how different actors' voices read quotes from various letters and journals that were used to support the story. Enjoyable and informative!
- Jeffrey Keimer