Sunday in sitting room, listen with mother,
music-absorbed – where my brothers?
composer life read on record back-cover.
Tremulous clarinets, oboes and strings;
timpani exclaim, tears easily spring,
malleable hearts Schubert capably wrings.
Symphony forgotten, decades after death,
re-discovered, cluttered study held breath:
hallowed harmonies: height, width, depth.
Half-suppressed heart, emotional outcry,
what caused passionate protest, and why?
Did ‘Unfinished’ score cause bitter sigh?
Beethoven’s mantle impossible to steal;
life-leeching lust, your Achilles heel –
an empty faith, uncertain your keel.
Impoverished, neglected, few friends;
sheet-music left, outlasting your end;
perhaps in eternity, heaven your friend…?
Schubert’s output consists of over six hundred secular vocal works, seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music. Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna, but interest in his work increased significantly in the decades following his death…