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Schubert in Despair
Franz Schubert At the time Schubert was writing his "Rosamunde" Quartet in A minor, the year was 1824, and Schubert had just turned 27 years old. Schubert was also terribly sick, suffering from the symptoms of syphilis, as he lamented to a friend in the letter below.

I find myself to be the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world. Imagine a man whose health will never be right again, and who in sheer despair continually makes things worse and worse instead of better; imagine a man, I say, whose most brilliant hopes have perished, to whom the felicity of love and friendship have nothing to offer but pain at best, whom enthusiasm (at least of the stimulating variety) for all things beautiful threatens to forsake, and I ask you, is he not a miserable, unhappy being? 'My peace is gone, my heart is sore, I shall find it nevermore'. I might as well sing every day now, for upon retiring to bed each night I hope that I may not wake again, and each morning only recalls yesterday's grief.
In response to his despair, that same year Schubert went on to compose the String Quartet in D minor -- 'Death and the Maiden', completed the Variations on Trockne Blumen for flute and piano, and composed several songs to texts by Mayrhofer. Schubert recognized that "What I produce is due to my understanding of music and to my sorrows."

Resource: R. Winter: 'Schubert, Franz', The New Grove Dictionary of Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 4 February 2003), www.grovemusic.com


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