poster for 2015 Schubert Disc 7 poster for 2015 Schubert Disc 7
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His magnificent accomplishments in virtually every other musical genre notwithstanding, Schubert’s lieder—which number more than six hundred and set texts by more than 150 poets—unquestionably represent his most significant contribution to the repertoire. While much of Schubert’s music went unrecognized during his lifetime, his songs for voice and piano were frequently performed—primarily at the Schubertiades, intimate affairs that centered on Schubert’s music—and were cherished by all who heard them. Schubert’s penetrating sensitivity to text is reflected not only in his melodic sensibility—which, of course, is one of his supreme gifts—but also in his imaginative piano accompaniments, how they interact with the vocal writing and relate to the text, illuminating or at times even contradicting the words being sung. Schubert’s innovations to the art song elevated the entire genre, transforming it from simple, domestic fare into a musical form of primary importance for composers of the Romantic generation and beyond. His songs are his legacy, rightly earning him the sobriquet the “Prince of Song.”