[Lee In-hyun] Franz Schubert has Van Gogh in classical music


Two weeks ago I went to the Van Gogh immersive exhibit with my mom in Los Angeles. Because she majored in art in college, she knew a lot about Van Gogh. Van Gogh certainly had incredible artistic talent; however, he did not get the recognition and respect he deserved. He was poor and depended heavily on his brother for financial assistance. He did not acquire any reputation and fame during his lifetime. Many years after his death, he was finally recognized for his artistic talent. His paintings are now invaluable and the place where he resided became a major tourist attraction. My mother was sorry for him not to have obtained such recognition during his lifetime.

In a field of classical music, there is a musician who had a similar life; Franz Schubert was like Van Gogh. Although he was a very talented musician and wrote romantic and beautiful pieces, he did not become a recognized musician. Most people who knew him knew how great a musician he was. They tried to help her live a better life; however, he could not escape poverty and hunger like Van Gogh. This was mainly due to his shy personality; he avoided showing his music to the public. Also, he had many opportunities to meet Beethoven, the musician he most admired, but he only met Beethoven a year before his death. (They only lived a few blocks from each other.) After listening to Schubert’s music, Beethoven admired his artistry and wished he had known him sooner. Although Schubert had financial difficulties, he never gave up his music; music meant everything. Whether people knew him or not, it didn’t matter to him. He composed music in a way that locked away everything he felt and thought. (He was mostly inspired by poetry and literature.) His music was dazzlingly beautiful but sad enough to make you cry. He was pure and passionate, but lonely and sad. Shubert died of syphilis at a relatively young age at 31, and he has become forgotten.

A few years after Schubert’s death, Schumann, who was an influencer in the field of classical music, listened to his tracks and decided to make his greatness known. Thanks to Schumann, much of Schubert’s music came to life. He finally became famous for his artistic talent. The songs he made are more beautiful than the songs of other composers, and his instrumental pieces have touched people’s hearts. Although he is dead, his works are highly regarded around the world like Van Gogh. People celebrate his birth and commemorate his death by organizing concerts. In Austria, the Schubert festival takes place every year. Every time I listen to Schubert’s tracks, I think it would have been better if he had become a famous musician during his lifetime because he could have done more musical activities. Maybe if Schubert or Van Gogh was a famous artist who rose to prominence, we might not have been able to discover their beautiful and ingenious works today. Through their music or their painting, I can feel their difficult life.

For these reasons, I strongly recommend that you listen to “Ave Maria” by Schubert and the piano sonata D. 959, 2nd movement. “Ave Maria” is very popular and familiar. When my head and my mind are complicated and overloaded, I listen to her. Because the melody and the atmosphere have a religious feeling, it calmed me down. The Piano Sonata No. 2 D.959, 2nd movement shows how hard he lived. The music was composed before his death. His life became more and more difficult and his life was poor until he fell ill and died. Every time I listen to this music it hurts my heart to feel his miserable and difficult life. If you want to experience a moment of calm, I suggest you listen to “Ave Maria”. If you want to feel its life and experience its deep side, I suggest the second piece, Piano Sonata No. 2 D.959 2nd movement. In the fall, when a cold wind blows gently, it doesn’t matter what song you listen to. It is no exaggeration to say that the best music in September is its music. If you get the chance, I hope you enjoy his music. You will never be disappointed.

Lee in hyun
Lee In-hyun is a classical pianist and author of the award-winning book, The Classic Class, published in January 2021. She works in both Korea and the United States. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California. – Ed.

By Korea Herald (koreaherald@heraldcorp.com)


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