Today is Schubert’s Birthday!

January 31, 2012

Schubert is the composer of over 600 songs, world-famous piano music, nine (or ten) symphonies, chamber music, sacred music, and so much more. He did all this before the age of 31 when ill health finally took his life. The lesson? Don’t be a composer or it will lead to health problems.

To celebrate Schubert’s birthday we have compiled a list of popular publications for your perusal:

1. Impromptus for piano solo

Two competing editions of this collection lead our Schubert top-seller list, Henle and Bärenreiter.  Henle’s collection is a little more expensive but also includes another set of Schubert’s compositions, Moments musicaux.

2. Ave Maria for voice and piano

Schubert’s setting of Ave Maria is one of the most famous versions for solo voice out there.  Did you know that he originally did not composer the piece with the Marian text in mind?  Schubert originally set a portion of Walter Schott’s poem The Lady of the Lake in a German translation called “Ellens dritter Gesang” (“Ellen’s Third Song”, also know as “Hymn to the Virgin”).  Scott’s poem is a poetic reimagining of the traditional Roman Catholic Marian prayer.  Today it is most often sung to the traditional text rather than the poem that Schubert originally set.

3. 100 Songs for Voice and Piano

Of course, you could get all three of Ellen’s songs as well as and 97 other songs by Schubert in this popular collection from Hal Leonard.  It includes a brief description of each piece as well as a printing of the poem in both German and English.  This is a very affordable option for those first exploring Schubert’s vocal music.  Popular songs like “Erlkönig” and “Wandrers Nachtlied” are included.

4. Edition Peters’ Lieder Collections

Schubert’s complete vocal music is published by Edition Peters.  Song cycles are presented in their entirety and several transpositions are available for different voice types.  A new Urtext edition of many songs is also available that is based on manuscript sources.  Peters’ collections of Schubert’s lieder offer a lifetime of musical exploration for singers and pianists.  There are over 600 and all are full of richness.

5. Piano Sonatas

After the Impromptus, Schubert’s most popular piano works are the Sonatas.  The editions by Henle Verlag are beautifully engraved are published in three volumes.  They are also available separately if you are looking for just one.  Some famous sonatas include: Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960; Sonata in C Minor, D. 958; and Sonata in A Minor, D. 784.

6. Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione 

This work is the only extant music written specifically for the arpeggione, which is similar to a bowed guitar.  The novel instrument had a short life in the 19th century while several prominent virtuosi had short but profitable careers.  Today, this sonata is heard most often in transcriptions for cello and piano or viola and piano.  Transcriptions for flute, clarinet and other instruments are also available.

7. Mass in G Major

Schubert’s Mass in G Major is his most popular choral composition.  Several editions are available, but the Schirmer Edition shown is the most popular due to its affordable price.  An urtext edition from Bärenreiter is available as is an arrangement with organ accompaniment suitable for use in a service.

8. Quintet in A Major (The “Trout” Quintet)

What list of famous Schubert compositions would be complete without the Trout?  We stock three editions for piano quitet: International, Bärenreiter, and Henle.  We also have a study score from Dover.  There is also the song, “Die Ferelle,” on which the quintet is based. 

9. Twenty-four Favourite Songs for Voice and Piano


You can find “Die Ferelle” in this popular and affordable vocal collection.  All the classic hits by Schubert are here: “Der Wanderers Nachtlied”, “Erlkönig”, “Was ist Sylvia”, “Du bist die Ruh’”, “Gretchen am Spinnrade”, and “Der Tod und das Mädchen”.  The collection is available for high or low voice.

10. Fantasy in F Minor for Piano Duet

Rounding out this Top 10 is Schubert’s Fantasy in F Minor for Piano, Four Hands, his most extensive and popular work for piano duet.  The Fantasy is also one of the last major works he composed, finishing it only 8 months before his death.  We keed the Henle and Ricordi editions in stock, but International and Peters are also available.
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