Rott

Vienna’s long musical history has encompassed a number of fascinating what-ifs. What if Mozart hadn’t died at only 35? Or Schubert at 31? Or Hans Rott at the even more tragically early age of 25? Hans Rott?? You can read his (perforce) short biography here. Together with Schubert and Schönberg, he was one of the few […]

1st Viennese School?

Mugshots of some of the most famous musicians to grace our planet. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and (sometimes) Schubert are frequently lumped together under the blanket heading of the First Viennese School. But, unlike the Second Viennese School (Schönberg, Berg and Webern – of whom more next week), in the case of these four mostly Vienna […]

What’s the score?

Of course it’s pretty vital that a conductor has an overall sense of a work. A composer’s (sometimes!) carefully constructed opus – a climax here, rest points there – can easily be wrecked by maladroit stick waving and/or misplaced peaks or troughs. So, if there’s no handy composer around to ask (they’re pretty often dead); and, while […]

Journey’s end

Our Winter journey together completed, Schubert bids us – and practically everything else – a fond, last farewell: Abschied (Farewell) D.957/7 Farewell! You jolly, you cheerful town, goodbye! My horse paws the ground now with light-hearted hoof, Now receive my final, my parting salute You’ve never seen me downcast before, And it can’t happen now at […]

The hurdy-gurdy man

The end of Wilhelm Müller’s Die Winterreise has a strangeness that never fails to touch and mystify. The image of the ancient, penniless hurdy-gurdy man making his music, unmoved by the passing world, is inexplicably potent – it calls to us. Who is he?  Death? Madness? A salvation of some sort? And then there’s Schubert’s setting: the simple hurdy-gurdy/bagpipe […]