Podcast #4: Exploring The Late Style Of Schubert

By Erik Petersons on June 1, 2017.

Schubert writes some music which is terrifying in this period… seeing destitution and disability as being his future because of his syphilis and the possibility of going mad.  But at the same time, he’s writing music that has extraordinary contentment.  What you get with Schubert is that he is the most personal composer that I know.  He speaks to you as a friend, from heart to heart.  He writes with complete vulnerability in his own emotional state and you see into him in a way that you perhaps don’t with other composers.  Beethoven seems to spend a lot of time battling with the gods in a most thrilling and extraordinary way.  But with Schubert you feel that he’s having a real conversation with you.

There must have been a sense of time running out, that it just concentrated his mind and creative abilities….Perhaps he is like a painter or a potter who has just got the touch in that moment.  It is almost as if it comes in a tactile way—that he can’t write a false note.  The connection between hand and mind and heart is totally there in that moment and you feel he could have turned it into anything he would have wanted….Very possibly we have the music we have from Schubert because he was aware that he didn’t have that time.

- Mark Padmore