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, as the two Brits were quite aware. George Grove, age 47, was England’s finest musicologist, and Arthur Sullivan, age 25, one the country’s most promising young composers.
Grove believed there might be forgotten manuscripts in the possession of the late composer’s relatives, so the pair met with Schubert’s nephew, a certain Herr Doktor Schneider, who said, oh yes, come to mention it, he did have some pieces by Uncle Franz that no one had played for more than 40 years. If the two gentlemen had no objection to getting dusty, they were welcome to rummage the family’s storage closets.
The two visitors braved the dust and found 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 copy of their discovery. At 2 a.m., after finishing the task, their spirits must have been pretty high, since to celebrate the proper Victorian gentlemen began an impromptu game of leap-frog.
Music Played in Today's Program
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)Rosamunde Incidental MusicChamber Music Orchestra of Europe; Claudio Abbado, cond.DG 431 655
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