Jim Davidson wrote: ↑
Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:28 am
Stephen Kenyon wrote: ↑
Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:52 pm
Er, we think he might have done but there's as much reason to think he didn't as to think he did. At least, its not for certain.
You have to admit that there's an awful lot of evidence that points to a relationship with the guitar...
-Contemporary accounts say that he took guitar lessons
-He moved constantly (something like 12 times in ten years) and didn't bring a piano with him. Actually, he sent a letter home saying that he was going to send back his piano. At the same time, he owned a guitar.
-He wrote Bierdermeier
-style folk music for casual performances that was almost always played with guitar accompaniment, and we even have paintings of Schubert in said settings with guitars clearly visible.
-His music was performed with guitar accompaniment on a number of occasions where he was in attendance.
-Diabelli regularly published works by Schubert with an arranged guitar accompaniment which were quite commercially successful during Schubert's lifetime
Even if Schubert didn't explicitly write for guitar, performances of his music on guitar were common in his lifetime and he never voiced any objection to it.
I don't have to admit anything Jim; I state clearly that there several things that suggest the possibility.
But with points such as you have made, the question always has to be that of sources. So often, when researching this 20 years ago, I chased the source of a claim only to find that it was an unsupported assertion on the back of an LP or something, almost invariably, an assertion in support of the purchase of the item! So Jim, in hopes, where are the contemporary sources for the guitar lessons?
Yes, he owned a guitar. Or at least, was in possession of one. And I an in possession a violin - I can assure I cannot play it! I also own a keyboard, and here its a bit more vague. What do we mean by 'play' an instrument. Often, in this area of discussion, when somebody asserts that so-and-so 'played' an instrument, their assumption is that because they were a wonderful musician, they had therefore to be wonderful on said instrument, or least, had a meaningful relationship with it. I'd say many musicians experiment a bit with a variety of instruments, maybe get a bit OK on them. My dabblings on keys, recorder, wooden flute, bowed psaltery, ocarina, etc etc had better not be taken (fanciful thought experiment coming up!) by my future biographer as evidence that I 'played' them, as in, had a meaningful relationship with them such that enthusiasts for such an instrument would claim me as 'theirs'. My Head of Department, a wonderful organist, can play the obvious chords on guitar - but would never say he's a guitarist. This is a common situation. My view from the evidence is that it may have been something a bit the same with Schubert. People around him, friends and relatives, played various instruments, including guitars. Perhaps he 'had a go'.
We must remember always that Schubert and geniuses of his ilk had no need for an instrument in order to compose - the only eye-witness account that springs to mind of somebody visiting him and finding him composing, he was sitting at a desk and tapping the rhythms with his fingers.
Re your 3rd point, sources please? I do know of the one painting where he is sitting on the grass next to a guitarist. Any others? You did imply a plural.
4th point, sources?
Yes we know Diabelli published guitar versions, sometimes before the piano originals. Brian Jeffery's view is that they were simplified beyond acceptability, and certainly, the only one I have been able to find, Die Wanderer, the guitar part is pretty awful, omitting the essential semi-tone dissonance for example (its on imslp). I would argue that the fact that as far as we know, it was Diabelli's work (or a guitarist he employed) is proof enough that Schubert had little interest in these things or he would surely have preferred to do a better job himself, and certainly, if he had any even faint enthusiasm for it he would have written at least something (beyond D80) that was only for guitar, or for guitar first and with a piano arrangement of an original guitar part. All the evidence points away from that.
Last point, sources again?
Remember, I would love these things to be true. That's why I spent many many hours scouring the two authoritative collections of contemporary material by Otto Erich Deutsch. I was literally amazed to find nothing of substance. All discussed in the article referenced a few posts ago. A few further items have come to light since those books, as one would expect, but nothing yet has shifted the argument. But the deafening silence from countless pages of testimony and documentation convinces me that if Schubert had any kind of relationship with our instrument it was so slight as to be trivial.
Subject to your supplying convincing sources for your significant claims above, of course.