Schubert’s Reputation from His Time to Ours
January 20, 2017
The composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was not bereft of early advocates, from Schumann, Liszt, and Mahler to Sir George Grove. Brahms famously heralded Schubert as “the true successor to Beethoven.” Nevertheless, it was not until the end of the twentieth century that Schubert’s major instrumental works finally and fully emerged from Beethoven’s shadow. Critics and scholars began to reinterpret Schubert’s departures from Beethoven’s formal and stylistic characteristics, and to see these departures not as flaws but as strengths and hallmarks of a new paradigm. Schubert’s alternate constructions of “masculine subjectivities,” first described by Schumann in 1838, parallel a developing appreciation for lyricism, melody, and song-traits historically regarded as feminine. Consequently, Schubert’s approach is increasingly viewed as innovative and divergent rather than defective and deviant. Schubert’s Reputation from His Time to Ours tells the story of how and why this has happened.