When I started this website in 2008, my main goal was to learn about Schubert's songs and life. That goal has been achieved, and since then my team and I have gained many insights into Schubert's life and work. One of the first things that concerned us was why Schubert's songs were sometimes listed with a D-number from the Deutsch catalog and sometimes with opus numbers after the title. And what about the many versions and arrangements?
We were able to answer these questions and many others, and we invite you to explore the contributions on this website and learn some interesting things about Schubert for yourself.
First, we had to realize the sheer amount of music Schubert wrote in his short life. You can count over 700 songs alone, including different versions.
Someone once told me (I don't know if it's true), that at the New Schubert Edition in Tübingen, someone was hired to transcribe Franz Schubert's songs by hand for a week, 8 hours a day, as a test. To transcribe, mind you, not to invent anew as Schubert did. This amount was then extrapolated to the years from which we have Schubert's compositions today and to the number of pieces written. It became clear that it was not possible to achieve this in 8 hours of daily work.
Therefore, Schubert seems to have composed and written extremely quickly and often for more than 8 hours a day. Take a look at one of the many digitized versions of his manuscripts that can be found on the internet. You can see in Schubert's handwriting how the notes flow onto the pages.
During Schubert's lifetime, several significant compositions were already published and offered for sale. Opus 1 to 97, as well as op. 100 & 106, were printed and published until Schubert's death in 1828. The remaining operas up to work number 173 were published immediately after his death. As a result, numerous songs were published as so-called posthumous deliveries. But even after these posthumous deliveries were discontinued, new manuscripts or copies of Schubert songs were discovered from time to time. Even today, unknown works by Schubert are occasionally rediscovered. Of course, this happens less frequently today.
Fortunately, many of the first editions and posthumous deliveries can be found at the Austrian National Library, digitized and available online. With the keywords Schubert and Erstdruck, you will find them there.
It cannot be overstated how valuable it is that this library provides its digitized works online for free. Not all libraries do this. Therefore, I would like to express my thanks here for the effort and money invested here for the benefit of all!
Schubert's fame had already begun to spread during his lifetime, but from the time of his death, it continued to grow steadily. It is not surprising, therefore, that it took and still takes many years to collect and sort the treasures of his legacy that were not published.
In the approximately 200 years since Schubert's death, various musicologists have distinguished themselves in a special way. Some have, usually building on each other, made catalogs of Schubert's works.
Eusebius Mandyczewski was the first to create a systematic complete edition in collaboration with the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel and numerous assistants from 1884 to 1897, which also included some newly published songs. This is the Old Complete Edition (AGA). Those who contributed to it include: Johannes Brahms (symphonies), Johann Nepomuk Fuchs, the aforementioned Mandyczewski (songs), Josef Hellmesberger, Ignaz Brüll, Anton Door, Julius Epstein, and Josef Gänsbacher.
Max Friedländer also published six Schubert albums during this time with the Edition Peters publishing house. In the seventh volume, many unpublished songs were also included. We now know this edition as the Friedländer edition.
Deutsch Catalogue vs. First Publication with Opus Number: This is the reason why some songs in program booklets have an opus number and some have a number from the Deutsch catalogue.
Schubert set poems to music as soon as he got his hands on them. If a text appealed to him, he apparently immediately came up with music for it and wrote it down right away. Sometimes, a new version of the same poem replaced the first one he had written the day before. Sometimes, a completely new song was created several years later based on the same poem.
Therefore, Otto Erich Deutsch distinguishes between adaptations and versions.
If there are several adaptations of a text, this refers to compositions that are independent of each other in terms of time and often completely different in nature.
Deutsch speaks of versions when a composition has been slightly modified during the transfer or transcription (phrasing, individual notes, etc.).
If only the title of a song were given in the program booklet, it would be possible to hear a different song than expected.
This is where the Deutsch numbers, as well as the opus numbers, come in handy. In addition, the Deutsch numbers can also give an indication of when Schubert roughly put a song or piece of music on paper.
Meanwhile, Walther Dürr and his team have created a new collection of sources and materials, as well as newly discovered manuscripts from Schubert's life.
This new edition of the works of Franz Schubert was published by the Bärenreiter-Verlag. This is the New Complete Edition (NGA) of the works of Franz Schubert.
All of these editions have been created with admirable care and have engaged many people throughout their lives.
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The advantage of the internet is that, in contrast to a closed directory, it continually produces new insights. Whether through the research of Schubert music enthusiasts or the unlocking of new sources.
As part of the previous research for our site, for example, I had the fortune to meet Peter Rastl from Vienna, who dedicates himself with meticulous precision to the reassignment of Schubert's song texts.
The almost complete unlocking of all sources for Schubert's song texts and lyricists is thanks to him. An example is the clarification of a widespread misconception about the Ammenlied D 122. Even Otto Erich Deutsch assumed quite naturally that the edition of some songs from Schubert's estate, which included the Ammenlied, published by J.P. Gotthard in 1872, was correct and that the Ammenlied had to come from Schubert. However, it seems to be a mistake by Diabelli, who mentions the song in a handwritten list of Schubert's songs, because it already appeared in print in 1801, when Schubert was only three years old.
There are also always interesting articles by enthusiastic Schubert fans who either travel to the places where he lived or are interested in specific aspects of his life and work. Research articles also appear online from time to time.
At this point, I would like to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about the genius Franz Schubert by linking to available digitalizations, people, places, and background information on the songs. Nowadays, it is actually possible to find and research many sources on the internet. You don't have to travel around the world to get a detailed insight into Schubert's compositions. By linking to already available digitized versions, to people, to places, and by incorporating background information on the songs, I would like to get as close as possible to Schubert's short life, both for others and for myself.
The website is operated by us as a hobby. The recordings that I was able to make with the fabulous pianists were created almost all voluntarily and were not produced professionally.
You should keep this in mind when visiting the site. The recordings are primarily intended to give an impression of the respective song. Almost like a sounding lexicon.
The site is still under construction and is expected to be mostly completed by Schubert's 200th anniversary of death in 2028.
You can help
You can support us if you like. Either through a donation, or by sending a message to me if any errors have crept in.
There is also a guest book where you can record your thoughts on Schubert or our project. My team and I would be very happy about that!
Thank you for visiting!!!
Your Peter Schöne