Franz Schubert's tragically short life was spent in one of Europe's most richly musical cities: a Vienna that worshipped Beethoven, adored Rossini, and thrilled to Paganini. Schubert, with the help of supportive friends who were themselves immersed in the arts, won fame for himself through songs and dances while aspiring to succeed with larger operas and symphonies. Christopher Gibbs considers how and what Schubert composed, taking a fresh look at this misunderstood figure, particularly the unfolding of his professional career, his relationship to Beethoven, the growth of his reputation and public image and the darker side of drinking, depression and sexual ambiguity. This searching and sympathetic biography questions the customary sentimental cliches and the recent revisionist views concerning this elusive genius.
' ... a well-researched, warmly written, and refreshing new look at the Austrian composer.' The Library Journal ' ... timely and valuable ... Mr Gibbs, with his solid grounding and balanced view, packs a great deal into a small space ...'. New York Times ' ... timely and valuable ... Gibbs, with his solid grounding and balanced view, packs a great deal into a small space and supplies a corrective still sorely needed, or, as he suggests, needed now more than ever, as seductive new theories mingle freely with comfortable old myths.' International Herald Tribune 'A clear-sighted, brisk survey of the life.' Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine 'The latest book in Cambridge's excellent series of short, non-specialist Musical Lives.' Guy Dammann, Times Literary Supplement 'The book in general is concise, scholarly and clearly written ... and I learnt a lot from it about Schubert and about Viennese musical life in the 1820s that was new to me.' Opera