Schubert Online has
Manuscripts, letters, and more
Now all in one place.
Schubert Online is a website that has collected digitized scans of Schubert documents from a number of European libraries. The website describes itself as “the world’s largest collection of Schubert music manuscripts, first and early editions.” And let’s not forget the letters and other documents. I find it fascinating to see the composer’s own handwriting, both in scores and in letters, and to see some of the topics that concerned him. This is from Schubert’s diary:
17 June 1816
Today I composed for money for the first time, namely a cantata for the name day celebration of Professor Wattrot von Dräxler. The honorarium is 100 florins, Vienna currency.
I thought it was interesting that Schubert’s handwriting was somewhat neater when he penned a letter to the king.
7 April 1826
Most gracious Emperor!
In deepest reverence the undersigned makes the humble request to be most graciously granted the vacant position of Vice-Kapellmeister, and supports this request with the following grounds…
I would be remiss if I didn’t include some music. Here is one of my favorite sections from Schubert’s Mass in E-flat major D 950, Et incarnatus est and a performance so you can hear it. Schubert combines gentle beauty, the weaving of three voices together, with something akin to terror in the middle before returning to the beauty of the initial passage. So Schubert. Pleasant sunshower, thunderstorm, rainbow. Major-minor-major. Light and shadow. I like this recording, but please note that they have decided to use “German Latin,” that is, Latin pronounced as if it were German. So “sancto” becomes “zancto”. The tenor solo is the second staff from the bottom.
Image attribution: Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFranz_Schubert_by_Wilhelm_August_Rieder.jpeg