Schubert On The Cello

Franz Schubert 1797-1828 has to be one of the gentlest, kindest, most sensitive, most tender and most inspired of all the great classical composers. Is there any composer more lovable? Certainly, no other composer used as many p’s and pp’s in their music as Schubert did. If musicians were to receive sainthoods, Schubert would undoubtedly be one of the most unanimously chosen.

It is said that he never found love in his short life. We can perhaps, in a sad ironic way, be grateful for this because if he had found love he might not have had such powerful unsatisfied yearnings and may not have felt the need to express his deepest feelings through his compositions. Humanity has greatly benefited from Schubert’s sufferings ……..

If we ever do any work that we feel is underappreciated, then we only need to think of Schubert to cheer ourselves up. Appreciation of his music while he was alive was limited to a relatively small circle of admirers in Vienna and most of his works were written for friends and acquaintances, for the love of music and humanity, with no economic compensation for the composer. His Ninth Symphony was never properly played in his lifetime because Schubert didn’t have enough money to pay for a performance (!). It didn’t receive its first professional performance until ten years after his death (and then only thanks to the interventions of Schumann and Mendelssohn).

Salieri has had very bad press because of his supposed obstruction of Mozart, but it would appear that Salieri was Schubert’s main mentor and benefactor, giving the young boy free private composition, theory and harmony lessons because of his exceptional talents.

Unfortunately, Schubert, like Mozart (who was born 40 years before Schubert and died 6 years before Schubert’s birth), composed nothing at all for the cello as “protagonist” (solo, melody) instrument. We have tried to remedy this situation by transcribing and adapting to the cello the following selection of his works written for other instruments (including the voice):

  1.   Arpeggione Sonata
  2.    Violin Sonatina Nº 1 in D
  3.    Der Erlkönig (the Elflking)
  4.     Auf dem Wasser zu Singen (Singing on the Water)
  5.    Litanei 
  6.   Der Müller und der Bach (The Miller and the Stream)

And here below is a compilation of passages from the cello music of Schubert for which the use of thumbposition is either obligatory, advisable or optional:

  1. Thumbposition Passages From Schubert’s Cello Repertoire