Today's Beautiful Gem: `Do I not deserve a place above the ground?' -
An appreciation of Franz Schubert.

           The two hundredth birth anniversary of one of the greatest composers
of classical Western music occurs this week. He is Franz Schubert. He
endured poverty; he was ignored during his lifetime. He died in a delirium
at the young age of 31. After his death, in course of time, he became an

           He learnt violin from his father, piano from a brother. He was in
possession of a fine soprano voice which gained him admission to the imperial
(Austrian) chapel. One of his teachers said that he learned "straight from
Heaven." He composed constantly and was as prodigious as the wunderkid
Mozart. When somebody asked: "How do you compose?" Franz said: "I finish one
piece and begin the next." Like Beethoven he too composed nine symphonies.
His chamber music pieces are very famous. His mastery in orchestral music and
knowledge about the intricacies of individual instruments are reflected in the
unfinished symphony, composed nine years before his death.

           The classic era was coming to an end and the romantic era was just
beginning when Schubert started his musical career. He became the tragic
figure of an artist, always at work, always unheralded, but always creative.
He never held any title or position. He lived all his adult life in absolute
poverty depending on his friends for daily sustenance. Sometimes he sold
his work just for a meal!

           Not only for his sonatas and symphonies is Schubert applauded today.
He was a musical prodigy with the sensitivities and sensibilities of a poet.
He set to music the great poetry of Goethe, Schiller and Muller. He has more
than six hundred songs to his credit. They are fresh, lyrical and full of
feeling. He said: "When I wished to sing of love it turned to sorrow. And
when I wished to sing of sorrow it was transformed for me into love." He was
correcting the proofs of his song cycle Die Winterreise (The Winter journey)
on his deathbed. He fancied that he was being buried alive. It seems he
exclaimed: "Do I not deserve a place above the ground?" His final wish was
to be buried near his idol Beethoven. "There never has been one like him,
and there never will be another," said Sir Geirge Grove.

Om shaantiH Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao.