It was a dark day for Franz Schubert when, in 1822, he called on Beethoven to present a copy of the Piano Variations for Four Hands which he had dedicated to the master. Despite the company of Diabelli, who acted as the interpreter of Schubert’s sentiments for the master at the meeting, the shy and taciturn young composer played a role disagreeable to everyone including himself. His courage, which had held fast as far as the house, deserted him completely at the sight of His Musical Majesty. And when Beethoven expressed the wish that Schubert himself should write down the answers to his questions, the latter’s hand seemed to be chained. Beethoven looked through the copy hastily and came across an error in the harmony. He drew the young man’s attention to it with kindly words, adding immediately that it was not a mortal sin. Schubert, however, was utterly disconcerted now, perhaps as a result of Beethoven’s soothing remark. Not until he had left the house did he pull himself together, and then he cursed himself in the most common terms. He never had the courage to try to make the master’s acquaintance again.
Since the illness, to which Beethoven finally succumbed after four months’ suffering, made his customary artistic activity impossible from the time it began, we had to think of some diversion for him in keeping with his intellect and his interests. And so it happened that I showed him a collection of Schubert’s songs, about 60 in number, many of which were then still in manuscript. It was not my sole purpose to provide him with pleasant entertainment, but rather to give him the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the real Schubert, of forming a favourable opinion of his talent, which had been made suspect for him by those exalted beings who have doubtless done the same for others of their contemporaries. The great master, who until that time had known less than half a dozen of Schubert’s songs, was astonished at their number and could not be made to believe that Schubert had by then [February 1827] already written more than five hundred. But if he was astounded at the number, he was even more amazed when he came to know their content. For several days he could hardly put them down, and every day he spent hours at a time with Iphigenia’s monologue, the Grenzen der Menschheit, Allmacht, the Young Nun, Viola, the Mullerlieder and others. Again and again he cried out enthusiastically, ‘Truly, there is a divine spark in Schubert!’-- ‘If I had had this poem I would have set it to music too!’ he said of most of the poems, the subject and content of which, together with Schubert’s original setting, he could not praise enough .... In short, Beethoven gained such great respect for Schubert’s talent that he now wanted to see his operas and piano pieces too; but his illness had advanced to the point where he could no longer satisfy that desire. But he spoke often of Schubert, prophesying that ‘he will cause a stir in the world,’ and regretting that he had not corne to know him earlier.
And here's a letter from Anselm Huttenbrenner to "Professor Luib":
I know for certain that Professor Schindler, Schubert and I paid a visit to Beethoven’s bedside roughly a week before he died. Schindler announced us both and asked Beethoven which one of us he wished to see first. Beethoven answered, ‘Let Schubert come in first’.(Kersr 1, 276. TDR V, 480)
Well, here's part of a nice 55 minute documentary/concert about performing Schubert's "Trout" Quintet with Itzhak Perlman, Daniel Barenboim, Jacqueline Du Pré, Zubin Mehta and Pinchas Zukerman (I can't believe how YOUNG they look!).
And now segueing back to Beethoven - here's some of the same people performing Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio...
Jacqueline du Pré, cello
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
Daniel Barenboim, piano
Piano Trio 5 in D, Op.70, No. 1 "Ghost" (1808) (26 min):
More about the Ghost Trio in previous posts HERE and HERE.
Today's post has some longer video features which I would normally save for a weekend post but...how often does one get to put 'Schubert', 'trout' and 'ghost' in one post header ;) .