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Franz Schubert: Music and Belief

Franz Schubert: Music and Belief by Leo Black
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During six decades since Leo Black first experienced Schubert, historians and analysts have replaced old stereotypes of the Bohemian artist and unselfconscious creator with a picture of a difficult man in difficult times. That undervalues Schubert's sense of wonder and of some greater Being; and the author of this work aims to redress the balance, concentrating firstly on works where Schubert's inborn, undogmatic beliefs are clearly expressed (masses, other religious music, songs amounting to 'Geistliche Lieder'). This basic strain also prompts an examination of instrumental masterpieces (Unfinished and Great C Major Symphonies, Wanderer Fantasy).

Schubert's religious side encompasses awe and terror as well as wonder and love of nature; given the pressures of his final years, joy gives way to 'pride of performance', a transition made clear by detailed comparison of his last two masses. Schubert's `complete voice' is thus clearly heard, rather than the sombre one currently over-emphasised in both literature and concert. A leading experts in the field has already called Franz Schubert: Music and Belief 'important in the study of him, and likely to change the way we listen to certain works'.

LEO BLACK is a former BBC chief producer for music.

Boydell & Brewer; December 2003
226 pages; ISBN 9781846150760
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Title: Franz Schubert: Music and Belief
Author: Leo Black
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