Schubertiade celebrates composer in an intimate setting

An innovator whose Romantic stylings for piano and chamber made 'huge mark'

Posted 1/30/20

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer who bridged the classical and Romantic periods of European music. He is especially known for his prolific songs, or lieder, for which he set the verse of famous poets to music. During his lifetime, the Schubertiade developed as an informal gathering in a private home of friends for the purpose of performing and celebrating Schubert's music. This tradition continues today.

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Schubertiade celebrates composer in an intimate setting

An innovator whose Romantic stylings for piano and chamber made 'huge mark'

Posted

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer who bridged the classical and Romantic periods of European music. He is especially known for his prolific songs, or lieder, for which he set the verse of famous poets to music. During his lifetime, the Schubertiade developed as an informal gathering in a private home of friends for the purpose of performing and celebrating Schubert's music. This tradition continues today.

Taos Soundscapes presents the sixth annual Schubertiade produced by musicologist and pianist Claire Detels this Saturday (Feb. 1) at 3 p.m. at a private home in Taos. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students and free for youth ages 12 and under who are accompanied by an adult.

Detels is professor emerita of the University of Arkansas Department of Music, where she taught from 1983 to 2008. She spoke with me about how she chose the pieces for this program.

"I'm always looking for pieces that I love and aiming to have at least half of the concert be Schubert," said Detels. "And, the rest to be composers who were either contemporaries or later admirers influenced by Schubert. So that's one thing that goes into the pot. Another thing that goes into the pot is that we try not to do any pieces we've done already. This is our sixth Schubertiade and we're not by any means running low, because there are more than 500 songs [by Schubert] and an immense amount of chamber music and piano music as well.

"Many of them offer really interesting harmonic challenges because Schubert was such an innovator and though he died so early he made a huge mark on influencing the Romantic stylistic developments for piano music and chamber music and song in the early 19th century," Detels continued. "Even though he died in 1828 he left so many ideas and so much music that we're blessed and that's why we're performing it, of course."

The first half of the Taos Soundscapes program is devoted to Schubert's music, and includes "Frühlingsglaube" and excerpts from "Die Schöne Müllerin" sung by baritone Mark Jackson with piano by Claire Detels, and "Heidenröslein" sung by 14 year-old Abby Grace Mills. Detels solos on the "Intermezzo in A-flat Major" for piano and Howard Schwartzman is featured for "Sonatina #2 in A Minor" for violin with Detels on piano.

After the intermission, the program continues with Movement 1 of "Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1 No. 3" by Ludwig van Beethoven performed by Taos Soundscapes Artistic Director Rebecca Caron on cello with Schwartzman and Detels. Next is "Sonata in E minor" by Johannes Brahms for cello and piano. The concert concludes with Brahms' Magelone Lieder sung by Mark Jackson with Claire Detels on piano.

Detels noted that the concert will be held in a private home in the tradition of a Schubertiade, and refreshments will be served. It is important to reserve or purchase tickets in advance as seating is limited.

"The tradition [of the Schubertiade] started in Schubert's lifetime. His music was largely unpublished in his lifetime but he was well known in Vienna, and so his friends got together and started this tradition of having house concerts with mainly his music featured," Detels said. "One of the special things about the Schubertiade for these six years is that we've always found a lovely home with a grand piano. … People really enjoy the informal atmosphere. They enjoy talking about the music and meeting other people who are similarly inclined at the event. It's more collegial than the usual concert hall."

For more information or to reserve tickets, call (505) 363-0265 or visit taossoundscapes.com. Directions to the concert location will be given at the time of ticket purchase.

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