The Story of the Boy Who Wrote
One might say of Schubert that he was born with a spring of melody in his heart and a song on his lips.
Can anyone make a melody more lovely than this?
Play it or have someone play it to you.
Is it not worth remembering all one's life?
Schubert composed many kinds of music, but his songs are most loved by everybody.
They are sung all over the world.
And just because he never let a song come from his lips that did not first come from his heart.
Is not this a jolly one?
[Pg 4] Schubert's full name was FRANZ PETER SCHUBERT.
He was born in Vienna, in a very simple house that looks quite old-fashioned.
Over the doorway there is a bust of Schubert, a few inches high.
And a sign on the house says: Franz Schubert's Birthplace.
Dates are easy to remember if we write them. So you must ask your teacher when Schubert was born and put in the date in the next sentence.
Franz Schubert was born in.........
At that time the great American authors Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and William Cullen Bryant were all boys.
[Pg 5] You may not know so much about them now, but some day they will be quite as good friends as any you will ever make.
Even though these boys were a little older than Franz Schubert, let us always think of them together.
Then, of course, we should think of Schubert together with the composers who lived when he did.
Here are some whose names you can remember very easily.
Czerny was born in the year 1794, and wrote many studies for the piano.
How much older was he than Franz Schubert?
Von Weber wrote operas and conducted them himself. He was born eleven years before Schubert.
Rossini was an Italian composer of operas, born in 1792, five years before Schubert. Schubert's life was so short, however, that Rossini lived forty years longer than the great song writer.
Donizetti was an Italian opera composer. One of his well-known operas was Lucia di Lammermoor. He was born in 1797, just as Schubert was.
[Pg 6] Franz's father was a schoolmaster, and so was Franz himself for three years.
He taught the little children of Vienna their A-B-C's, and how to do sums. Of course, he helped them to learn to read.
Sometimes we find it quite hard to take one piano lesson or violin lesson a week.
But from the time when Franz Schubert was a very little boy he had lessons every week for violin, voice, and piano.
A little later he began to study harmony with a very famous man who knew Mozart. His name was ANTONIO SALIERI.
With so many lessons and with school work just as we have it, Franz must have been a very busy boy.
He was quite poor and often very hungry; but in spite of that he was always good natured and full of fun.
At eleven years of age he became a singer in the chapel of the Emperor. It was here that Salieri was director.
Franz sang in the choir until he was nearly seventeen. Then he became a schoolmaster, because, of course, he had to earn his living.
[Pg 7] Wherever he was Franz was thinking music and composing it. Once he wrote a song called The Serenade at a table outside an inn.
An artist has made a picture of this.
Once Schubert was seen by his boyhood friends busily writing a new song. So quick did he write that the ink was hardly dry on one sheet before the next one was done. He was writing the music to a beautiful fairy poem by the great German poet Goethe. The poem is called The Erl-King, and tells how the fairy Erl-King chases a father who is rushing on horseback with his dying child in his arms. Finally, just as the father reaches his courtyard the child dies. It is a beautiful song sung by the greatest singers.
Goethe, the great poet, is not known to have met Schubert. He paid little attention to his music.
Here is his picture.
Sometime you will learn about Joseph Haydn, who died in Vienna when little Franz was twelve [Pg 8] years old. Papa Haydn, as he was called, was music master in a famous family called the Esterhazys.
Let us put a picture of Joseph Haydn here just to remember that he was an old man of seventy-seven when little Franz was a boy of twelve.
Well, Franz Schubert also lived for a time with the Esterhazy family. He was piano teacher to the children of Count Johann. Franz was then twenty-one years old.
In what year was he twenty-one?
A good friend of Schubert's was Michael Vogl. He was a famous singer, who did all he could to make Schubert's songs known.
They took little vacation trips together and were good companions. When you read more about this singer's friendship for Franz Schubert you will like him for being so kind to one who had very little pleasure in life.
[Pg 9] He looks like a good friend even in a picture—do you not think so?
Once when Schubert and Vogl were enjoying a vacation tour in the mountains, Franz read Scott's Lady of the Lake, which was printed in the year 1810, when Schubert was thirteen years old.
Schubert set some of this poem to music. A fact you will remember when you read it in school.
Perhaps you could remember at the same time that Scott was a little older than Schubert and just one year younger than Beethoven.
Beethoven lived in Vienna at that time and Schubert with two friends went to see him. Beethoven was very deaf, and those who met him had to write down what they wanted to say with a large pencil, such as is used by carpenters. Schubert was so modest and nervous upon meeting the great master that he could not even write his replies.
[Pg 10] Here is the picture of the way Beethoven looked as he walked down the street in those days:
Once when Schubert was very ill a friend sent him some books to read. They were The Last of the Mohicans, The Spy, The Pilot, and The Pioneer.
Now these books were written by the American author, whose name you must find for yourself.
[Pg 11] See what a simple work room Schubert had. Here are his Clavier and chair and a few books.
Schubert had music in his mind and soul all the time. It is said that one of his favorite walks was down by a mill, where he was inspired to write some beautiful songs.
This is the way that Franz Schubert wrote his name.
FACTS ABOUT FRANZ PETER SCHUBERT.
When you have read this page and the next make a story about Schubert's life. Write it in your own words. When you are quite sure you cannot improve it, copy it on pages 14, 15, and 16.
1. Schubert was born in Vienna.
2. His birthday was January 31, 1797.
3. He died in Vienna in 1828.
4. When Schubert was born Beethoven was twenty-seven years old.
5. Schubert was a schoolmaster.
6. He had his first music lessons from his father, who was also a schoolmaster and who played the violin.
7. His brother taught him to play the piano, and he studied singing so as to join the Emperor's Choir.
8. Then he studied harmony with a famous man named Salieri.
9. When Franz was thirteen he composed two piano pieces, at fourteen he wrote two songs, and when he was sixteen he wrote a symphony.
10. When he was eighteen Franz wrote more than a hundred songs.
11. He composed The Erl-King when he was nineteen.
12. In all, Schubert wrote over six hundred songs, lots of piano pieces, nine symphonies, and many other compositions.
13. What other composer also wrote nine symphonies? [Pg 13] Perhaps you may not know this; if not, ask your teacher.
14. Schubert made many good friends.
15. With them and his music he found all his happiness.
16. Once when he was very ill he read some books by an American author. Do you remember the author's name?
17. Do you remember the name of any one of the books?
18. One of Schubert's most beautiful symphonies was called The Unfinished, because he did not live to complete it.
TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT SCHUBERT.
1. Where was Schubert born?
2. When was Schubert born?
3. Name two American authors who were boys when Schubert was born.
4. Name two composers who lived at the same time.
5. What was the father of Franz Schubert?
6. Who taught Schubert harmony?
7. Give the name of a famous song by Schubert.
8. What famous musician died in Vienna when Schubert was twelve years old?
9. Who was the noted singer who helped to make Schubert's songs famous?
10. When did Schubert die?
THE STORY OF FRANZ PETER SCHUBERT