Schubert’s Late Music. History, Theory, Style

Cambridge University Press, 2016; pbk 2018
Co-Editor (with Julian Horton)

Schubert’s late music has proved pivotal for the development of diverse fields of musical scholarship from biography and music history to the theory of harmony. This collection addresses current issues in Schubert studies including compositional style, the topical issue of ‘late’ style, tonal strategy and form in the composer’s instrumental music and musical readings of the ‘postmodern’ Schubert. Offering fresh approaches to Schubert’s instrumental and vocal works and their reception, this book argues that the music which the composer produced from 1822 to 1828 is central to a paradigm shift in the history of music during the nineteenth century. The contributors provide a timely reassessment of Schubert’s legacy, assembling a portrait of the composer that is very different from the sentimental Schubert permeating nineteenth-century culture and the postmodern Schubert of more recent literature.

“This book, one of several recent studies concerning the late music of Franz Schubert (1797–1828), is an outgrowth of a 2011 academic conference at Maynooth University. The volume comprises 20 essays by 20 distinguished conference participants (the editors included) grouped under four headings: ‘Reception Histories’, ‘The Late Instrumental Music: Hermeneutics and Performance’, ‘The Late Instrumental Music: Meaning and Genre’, and ‘Defining Late Style’. 

Schubert’s late period is controversial because the brevity of his life raises the question of whether his knowing for years that he was terminally ill significantly affected his work. The remarkable artistic maturity he attained despite his illness provides fertile ground for investigation. The contributors explore technical aspects of the music- such as the relation of theoretical analysis to performance of specific works-enriching their discussions with in-depth considerations of a broad spectrum of recent Schubert literature. All the contributions are carefully documented, and the book concludes with an excellent selected bibliography. This is important work.”

D. Arnold, University of North Texas


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