Austrian composer FRANZ SCHUBERT was born. He wrote some six hundred Lieder, nine symphonies (including the famous “Unfinished Symphony”), liturgical music, operas and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. He is particularly noted for original melodic and harmonic writing.
While Schubert had a close circle of friends and associates who admired his work (including his teacher Antonio Salieri and the prominent singer Johann Michael Vogl), wider appreciation of his music during his lifetime was limited at best. He was never able to secure adequate permanent employment, and for most of his career he relied on the support of friends and family. Interest in Schubert’s work increased dramatically in the decades following his death.
Schubert was significantly influenced by his close-knit group of male friends, known as the Schubert Circle. His relationships with an older school friend Joseph von Spaun, the young poet Johann Mayrhofer, and the wealthy young sensualist Franz von Schober were the most important of his life. He and Schober often lived together for extended periods.
Citing the composer’s dissipation, his lack of female love interests, his passionate male friendships and several oblique references in his surviving correspondence, Maynard Solomon has argued that Schubert’s primary erotic orientation was homosexual. The immediate reaction on the part of many musicologists and music critics, who often simply refused to consider the evidence, revealed a deep-seated homophobia among many specialists in classical music.
But in recent years the notion of a Gay Schubert has become if not commonplace, at least much less controversial. Schubert’s alleged homosexuality and its effect on his music are subjects of continuing debate among music historians and critics. Upon his early passing, and by his own request Schubert was buried next to Beethoven, whom he had admired all his life, in the village cemetery of Wahring.