Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Thursday, October 5

Grove and Sullivan "discover" Schubert

Synopsis

On today's date in 1867, two eminent British Victorians arrived in Vienna in search of Schubert. Now, Schubert had been dead for 39 years, but the two Brits were quite aware of that fact. George Grove, age 47, was England's finest musicologist, and Arthur Sullivan, age 25, one the country's most promising young composers.

These two were in search of lost works by Schubert. Grove believed there must be forgotten manuscripts in the possession of the late composer's relatives. Grove and Sullivan met with Schubert's nephew, a certain Herr Doktor Schneider, who said, oh yes, come to mention it, he did have an overture and two symphonies by Uncle Franz that no one had played for more than 40 years. If the two British gentlemen had no objection to being covered in dust, they were welcome to dig through the family's storage closets themselves. Maybe something else might turn up.

The two visitors braved the dust and found the complete orchestral parts for Schubert's "Rosamunde" incidental music, tied up in a big bundle after the work's premiere back in 1823 and untouched since then.

Grove and Sullivan spent the rest of the day carefully making a hand-written copy of their discoveries. At 2 a.m., after finishing the task, their adrenaline must have still been pretty high, since these two proper Victorian gentlemen began an impromptu game of leap-frog to celebrate.

Music Played in Today's Program

Franz Schubert (1791 – 1827) Rosamunde Incidental Music Chamber Music Orchestra of Europe; Claudio Abbado, cond. DG 431 655

Additional Information

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