When playwright Werner Trieschmann wrote Mozart: Revealed for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s series on composers, he had a lot of material to work with. The prolific prodigy had a meteoric rise to fame.
But when Trieschmann began researching Austrian composer Franz Schubert for his second Philharmonic production, he realized he would have to bring one the most introverted classical composers into the spotlight.
It was hard, Trieschmann says. Mozart had a really dramatic life. It was larger than life. Schubert was almost the opposite.
The Philharmonic will present a dramatic and musical production of Schubert’s private life and his practically anonymous public life as a classical music composer. Trieschmann’s play reveals a gifted young man who spent most of his life supported by a circle of close friends.
The orchestra will have a coffee concert this morning with free muffins and coffee from Firefly Café. There will be hors d’ouevres and drinks from Calhoun Street Soups, Salads and Spirits for tonight’s performance.
It’s a way to introduce the lives of great composers to people who are probably familiar with some of their music, but don’t know much about how these people grew up, and what sort of environment they lived in and had to work in, maestro Andrew Constantine says. It’s a way of establishing a real-life context so that they (the audience) can feel more comfortable with music that was written one to two centuries ago.
Constantine began working with Trieschmann, a published playwright and dramaturge for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, for the Mozart: Revealed series last year. Trieschmann says he finds the series a fascinating approach to make these composers more accessible to the audience.
(Schubert) lived a very quiet life. It was not full of notable performances, and he spent most of the time writing, Trieschmann says. It was a challenge to get to those moments.
Constantine says it takes a collaborative effort with Trieschmann to make Schubert and his music a character in the concert.
(Trieschmann) understands the philosophy we’re trying to get across here in Fort Wayne, Constantine says. We throw out ideas for weeks, we do all of our research, and we iron things out so that it will be a compelling experience for people.
The two previous Revealed series focused on Austrian conductors, and Constantine says Schubert is often left out when considering classical composers of that era.
We’ve done Beethoven and Mozart, who are probably the two most familiar names in classical music, he says. Somebody who followed close on their heels and was as incredible of a musician was Schubert.
Growing up as a son of a schoolmaster, Schubert exhibited an early interest in music. He was enrolled in a music school at an early age, training to be a choral vocalist. At the age of 15, Schubert’s voice began to crack, forcing him to succumb to family pressure and begin training to become a schoolmaster. Schubert was a prolific writer by the age of 21 and he was ready to pursue composing full time.
Trieschmann says that by Schubert’s death in 1828, he had written more than 500 compositions, including four operas. He was 31 years old and had performed only one public concert.
It was a short life, but he had an enormous output for someone who died so young, Constantine says.
The Philharmonic will be performing Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in C Minor. The piece is an unfinished symphony composition that researchers have reconstructed to make a full concert performance. Constantine says that so far the orchestra and actors are spell-bound by the re0creation of Schubert’s life and talent.
He wrote the most soul-searching melodies and songs, Constantine says. It’s very deep stuff and very beautiful stuff.