The Classical Era

mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Franz Schubert


Franz Schubert
(Portrait by Gabor Melegh, 1825)


Of the great composers associated with Vienna — the others being Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven - Schubert was the only one born in the city, and the only one who failed to achieve international fame in his lifetime. His shyness and lack of instrumental virtuosity contributed to the hardships he endured, but he was responsible for a magnificent body of work that is still appraised and appreciated today.

Born in the suburb of Lichtental, he was the fourth son of a schoolmaster. From his family he learnt the piano and violin, soon outstripping everyone else in the household. At 11 his serious musical education began when he won a choral scholarship to the Konvikt, Vienna's Imperial College. Under Salieri's tutelage he wrote an opera and a series of quartets by the age of 15. He left the college in 1813 to train as a teacher before returning home to work in his father's school. Over the next five years alone, in an inexhaustible surge of creativity, he wrote five symphonies, six operas, and 300 songs (Lieder).

It was through song that Schubert's genius was first recognized. In 1814 he discovered Goethe's Faust, which led to his first masterpiece, Gretchen am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel). Erlkonig, depicting a terrorized child whose soul is swept away during a ride through a stormy night, followed the next year. The sensibility Goethe had awakened swiftly led Schubert to explore all the great poets of his time and unleashed what has been called "'a Shakespearean canvas of characters." His sense of melody and movement, his unique awareness of changing key and the interplay possible between singer and pianist, his master storyteller's sense of timing and shifting nuance: all these gave the Lied a power that nobody had imagined. "There's not one of Schubert's songs", wrote Brahms, "from which you cannot learn something."

Schubert was fortunate to be born into a Vienna alive with cultural activity and debate. His music seized upon the image of the Romantic hero promulgated in literature and painting. Schubert's artistic world was the land of night and dreams of Sehnsucht, a longing for the mystic world of the spirit, with the visible everyday world as a mere mirage. The hero, discovering incandescent love before bitter rejection, wanders alone through nature and there finds his solace and strength. These Romantic ideals underlie much of Schubert's work, such as the song Auf dem Waisser zu singen, whose fluttering juxtaposition of major and minor captures a mood of fervour and serenity; or the poetry Schubert prefaced to his symphonies, sonatas, and chamber music.

By 1816 the drudgery of the schoolroom had become unbearable. Schubert abandoned teaching to live in Vienna with Franz von Schober, a friend who worked to spread the composer's reputation and open his eyes to cultural trends. A meeting with leading baritone J.M. Vogl was crucial. He championed many of Schubert's songs, and a visit in 1819 to Vogl's birthplace in the mountains at Steyr liberated in the composer a powerful, happy impulse. There he began the Trout quintet, marking his coming of age in instrumental music. Scored for violin, viola, cello, double-bass, an piano, the quintet takes its name from his earlier song Die Forelle (The Trout), which is the basis of a set of variations in the fourth movement of the quintet.

This is the radiant Schubert everybody thinks they know. Yet our notion of a fat, jolly amateur, leaving his coffeehouse only to dash off another carefree masterpiece, is myth. In reality Schubert died prematurely of a disfiguring disease, his mind poisoned by the idea of the fate that inevitably awaited him.

Schubert contracted syphilis in 1823. It transformed his entire outlook, and while many reasons are put forward for his failure to complete his Eighth symphony, begun the year before his illness, it may be that it marked a period in his life which came to repel him. Nevertheless, he returned to the symphonic form soon afterwards to compose the Symphony No. 9 in С (The Great), a work grander and more profound than any of Schubert's other symphonies.

Some of the stings for his first song-cycle, Die schone Mullerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill), were written while in hospital in 1823. The cycle depicts the ill-fated love of a young man for a miller's daughter. Although it contains much joyful music, its sad ending anticipates the tone of his tragic second cycle, Winterreise (Winter Journey), written in 1827 after four years of illness. In the latter cycle, where the hero has lost his love before the cycle's beginning, the songs create an unrelenting portrait of gloom set in the frozen landscape of death. Yet Schubert was still able to put his morbidity aside, albeit temporarily; 1827 is also the date of several lighter pieces for piano — the Impromptus and the Moments musicaux - which form the ideal introduction to his instrumental music and anticipate the Ballades of Chopin and Brahms, while revealing a greater emotional range than either.

Some of Schubert's finest compositions were written during the last year of his life, including his masterly trio of Piano sonatas in С minor, A major, and Б flat. But the fullest portrait of Schubert's musical personality is the great String quintet in С. Its opening movement is one of the great masterpieces of classical organization; the slow movement alternates between a theme of sublime calmness in E major and a furiously anguished section in F minor; the scherzo (a generally jaunty movement which may take the place of the minuet in a sonata or symphony) has little in common with those of Haydn or Beethoven, but pits a boisterous hunting theme against an apparition as chillingly remote as anything from Winterreise; and the finale ends ambiguously m neither major nor minor. As always in mature Schubert, the sunshine is more intense for being inseparable from an awareness of the dark. Soon after completing the Quintet Schubert entered the final phase of his illness, and in December 1828 died at the age of 31.


Franz Schubert



Franz Schubert (1797-1828)



Dr. Carlyn G. Morenus
3 piano pieces "Drei Klavierstucke"
Allegro assai - Andante - Tempo I - Andantino - Tempo I (E-flat minor)
Allegretto (E-flat major)

Allegro (C major)

Serg van Gennip
Wanderer Fantasie D. 760
Sonate in G Major, D894
part 3,4
Sonate in G Major, D894
Impromptu in B flat D935
Impromptu in As maj. op.142

Mikhail Mordvinov with Philharmonic Orchestra Zwickau
Moment musical No. 1 in C - Moderato

Ave Maria
Bortoluzzi, Pierluigi
Ave Maria

Seymour Lipkin, piano
Impromptu in G-flat Major for piano, D.899/3 (Op. 90, No. 3)
Impromptu in F minor, Op. 142, No. 4
Piano Sonata No. in A minor, D. 845, Op. 42

Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960
Piano Sonata in B Major, Op. 147

Aviram Reichart
Sonata in A minor D. 784
Allegro giusto
Allegro vivace

Sonata in C minor D. 958

Columbia University Orchestra
Symphony No. 8 in B minor "Unfinished"
Allegro moderato
Andante con moto

Jay Carter



Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
















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