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The Schubertiade Music Festival Continues to Create Community August 12 2022

Over two centuries since the first Schubertiades were first held, the festivals continue to bring people together and create a community of like-minded people. From small, intimate gatherings to massive, world-famous celebrations, one thing all Schubertiades have in common is connecting lovers of chamber music and lieder-singing. 

Schubertiade

"Schubertiade" (1868) by Moritz von Schwind: Schubert at the piano and guests including Spaun, Lachner, Schwind, Rieder, Kupelwieser, Bauernfeld, Schober, Grillparzer, and countess Caroline Esterházy

SCHUBERTIADES CELEBRATE THE MUSIC OF FRANZ SCHUBERT

A Schubertiade is a music festival, event, or concert explicitly organized to celebrate the music of Franz Schubert, who many feel should be held in the same regard as other composers such as Beethoven and Mozart. Schubert was an Austrian composer from Vienna who left quite the mark on the late Classical and early Romantic eras.

Franz Schubert

Born in 1797, Schubert discovered his love for orchestral music at a very young age and showed promise with his instrumental talents. He began to study music at the Stadtkonvikt, the city boarding school, where he studied those that came before him.

Schubert led a short life, dying at the young age of 31, not long after giving a concert of his works for the only time in his career. However, despite his relatively short time composing, he created an impressive portfolio of secular vocal works, symphonies, operas, chamber music, and more. 

While his worldwide acclaim came after his death, he was very well regarded in Austria's musical circles. So much so, in fact, that he and his artist friends began to refer to their social gatherings as Schubertiades. 

THE EVOLUTION OF SCHUBERTIADES

Franz Schubert Young

These first Schubertiades held in the early 1820s were typically located in the private homes of Schubert's friends or fans. Generally hosted by wealthy families, these gatherings would include Schubert himself and often other notable musicians of the era. While much emphasis was placed on the music of Schubert, the Schubertiades would often include other artistic presentations such as poetry reading, dancing, and games. 

These Schubertiades often took place in the home of Ignaz von Sonnleithner in Gundelhof, Vienna. The gatherings would sometimes be small and intimate, but other times would gather more than a hundred people. The Schubertiade community became known as a place for free thinking and social meetings. 

One evening, a small group of him and his friends were targeted by police under suspicion of revolutionary activities. At the time, Austrian officials were concerned about large gatherings of students or youth because of the nearby French Revolution. As a result, Schubert and four others were punished, and his friend Johann Senn was sent to prison. Despite this, the Schubertiades continued as a way for him to spread his music and support the artist community of Vienna.

Nowadays, nearly two centuries later, you can still attend Schubertiades organized in honor of Schubert's works. Today, they are typically structured as large festivals which attract people from all over the world. 

THE MOST FAMOUS SCHUBERTIADE TODAY

The world's most important and famous Schubertiade today is the Schubertiade Vorarlberg, held yearly in Hohenems and Schwarzenburg, Austria. It has come a long way since the intimate gatherings with Schubert in attendance. Today, anywhere between 35,000 and 40,000 visitors attend the massive festival. With over 80 events available to check out, there are options for orchestra concerts as well as other exhibitions, lectures, and classes. Just as the Schubertiades had helped advance Schubert's career so many years ago, today, the hope is to do the same for young aspiring artists of lieder and chamber music.

Various venues throughout Vorarlberg have hosted the event over the years. Initially performed in Hohenems Palace, the location changed multiple times to help scale the festival. However, the sites always remained inspired by Schubert's life and travels. Events have also taken place in Achberg Castle, the Propstei St. Gerold, Lindau Island, and Schwarzenburg. Today, concerts have returned to Hohenems, with some events held in Schwarzenburg as well.

Schubertiade Vorarlberg

Schubertiade Vorarlberg

Markus Sittikus Hall - Hohenems

Hohenems was home to the first Schubertiade festival in 1976, so attendees were excited to see the Schubertiade return to the town in 2005. Some performances take place in the Markus Sittikus Hall, which was built in 1913 and used initially as a gymnasium. 

The Schubertiade organization renovated the historical building and turned it into the magnificent concert hall it is today. According to Heinrich Schiff, it's a dreamlike venue for chamber and lieder music. The hall can host almost 300 visitors and is known for its exceptional acoustics. There is also an open-air theater, garden, exhibition rooms, and forecourt on the grounds.

Artists often rent the building to record their music when the hall isn't hosting the Schubertiade events. Many renowned artists and labels have chosen to record there because of the acoustics.

 

Angelika Kauffmann Hall - Schwarzenberg

The main venue of the Schubertiade is this massive, wooden concert hall that was designed specifically with acoustics in mind. The giant timber-frame arena can seat 600 people and has been praised for its sound transmission, gorgeous setting, and comfortable amenities. 

The view from the concert hall overlooks some of Austria's most picturesque mountain scenes, where attendees gather on the panorama terrace before shows for cocktails and socializing. The venue also offers an extensive buffet area and exhibition rooms, making the experience a delight from start to finish. 

Schubertiade in Fribourg 2022

Schubertiade in Fribourg 2022

Its unique atmosphere and charm have put the concert hall in the ranks with London's Wigmore Hall. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German newspaper, claims the Angelika Kauffmann Hall is one of the top three best chamber music venues in the entire country. 

 

Museums of the Schubertiade Quarter

The first modern-day Schubertiade concert called the Hohenems Palace home in 1976. Because of this, Hohenems has much historical significance when it comes to Schubertiades today. 

The quaint town has a rich musical history and is home to the Schubertiade Quarter. These six significant buildings hold the Schubertiade museums. With over 40 dedicated to Schubert and other Classical musical artists of Austria, as well as the city's historical importance, visitors flock to the Schubertiade Quarter to get an unclose and personal look and a deeper understanding of the Schubertiade's history. 

Two of these museums are dedicated entirely to Franz Schubert, while three more focus on other important classic artists. 

 

Franz Schubert Museum

As you can likely guess by the name, this museum focuses closely on the life and work of composer Franz Schubert. The Franz Schubert Museum was established in May 2011 to complement the Schubertiade Music Festival held in Hohenems each year. Visitors can enjoy his music in the listening room just like many of his friends did during the first Schubertiades in the 1820s.

The building that the museum is housed in dates back to shortly before Franz was born. While initially constructed in the 16th century, it was completely rebuilt in 1777 after a fire nearly destroyed the entire thing. It has been restored and conserved to keep its historical significance. 

Party Game of the Schubertians

Party Game of the Schubertians - Watercolor by Leopold Kupelwieser

After exploring the museum and learning about the composer's upbringing, musical education, and journey to becoming the great composer he was, visitors can explore the garden on the premise that offers views of the town center.

 

Schubertiade Museum

As a continuation of the Franz Schubert Museum, the Schubertiade Museum focuses more on the history of Schubert's reception, along with his work. The museum also looks closely at others involved in Schubert's success, such as teachers, publishers, and other artists. 

The Schubertiade Museum also highlights the festival's journey and how it has grown, relocated, and evolved since the first year. 

 

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Museum

Spotlighting another crucial singer that emerged from the 20th century, the Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Museum features an incredible number of records of her career. Schwarzkopf was a prolific opera and concert singer and one of the foremost lieder singers. The museum houses an impressive collection of her complete performance chronicle, as well as a deep look into her personal life and the story of her career. 

 

Walter Legge Museum

Schwarzkopf's husband, Walter Legge, was a Classic music record producer who archived much of his collaborations with other famous artists of the time. He is known for being the first record producer of classical music, and he worked with many renowned figures. He also founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and helped bring music to the armed forces during World War II.

The Walter Legge Museum displays many artifacts and items from his life, along with letters, essays, and reviews that he wrote throughout the years. 

 

Nibelungen Museum

The Nibelungen Museum in Hohenems centers around the most significant work of Richard Wagner, a four-part music drama Der Ring des Nibelungen. The opera was his take on the Nibelungenlied's C and A manuscripts found in the Hohenems Palace in 1755. The museum also takes a look at other realizations of the manuscript.

Two other artists that are highlighted are Lilli Lehmann and Franz Nachbaur. Lehmann was a well-known soprano, and Nachbaur, an opera tenor, both of whom helped popularize Wagnerian music. 

SEE ALSO:

- Our Visit to Beethoven´s Birth House in Bonn, Germany (Blog)

The Rimsky-Korsakov Museum in St Petersburg, Russia - A Visit (Blog)

The Claude Debussy House-Museum - La Maison Debussy - A Visit (Blog)

- Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Autographs

- Lilli Lehmann Manuscripts

- Richard Wagner Autographs & Memorabilia

The Tchaikovsky House-Museum in Klin, Russia - A Visit (Blog)

Benjamin Britten’s Red House in Aldeburgh, UK - A Visit (Blog)

- Musee Chopin (Chopin Museum) in Paris – Our Visit (Blog)

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