Morning Music: Franz Schubert

Franz SchubertNow that we enter the Romantic period, things fragment. It is a lot harder to see clear progressions. And since from here on out I’m going to pick pieces more or less randomly, I might as well start with a composer that I greatly admire despite his emotional excesses: Franz Schubert. He’s still very much in the Classical tradition. But by the end of his life — he died at only 31 years old — he was certainly a Romantic composer.

Today we listen to a personal favorite of mine, the String Quartet No 15. It could so easily have been written to accompany Wuthering Heights — even though it was written two decades before the novel. Harmonically, it is riveting. It starts with alternating major and minor chords that sounds totally different from anything we’ve ever heard. Of course, Schubert was an experimenter. It’s surprising that he doesn’t have a bigger reputation. But that seems to come from the fact that academics have tended to disregard him for the reason they have disregarded so many great composers: the man can write a melody!

Listen to this. Really, it is beautiful. Orchestral music never gets better than this. And it is performed by the exceptional Belenus Quartett.

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