The last five years of Schubert’s life. Just five years? Doesn’t seem that long, does it? But, in a life span of a mere thirty-one — once you take away ten or so years for childhood — those five years come to represent a quarter of the composer’s mature life and, in terms of composition, the most significant period of his entire output, containing, as it does, the song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey), the late sonatas, the quartets, the trios, the Mass in E-flat and so on.
So, let’s make our autumn term’s journey into winter by travelling along with Schubert into a world that’s dark, deep, heart-searingly beautiful and very dangerous.
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