Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. He wrote some six hundred romantic songs as well as many symphonies, sonatas, some operas and many other works. Public appreciation of his work during his lifetime for a long time was thought to be limited, but when he died at the age of 31 over 100 of his compositions had already appeared in print. He was never able to secure adequate permanent employment and for most of his life was supported by friends or employed by his father. Today, with his imaginative, lyrical and melodical style, he is counted among the most gifted composers of the 19th century.
Schubert was born in the Himmelpfortgrund, a small suburb of Vienna. At the age of five Schubert began to receive regular instruction from his father. At six he entered the Himmelpfortgrund school where he spent some of the happiest years of his life. His musical education began about the same time. His father taught him the rudiments of the violin, his brother Ignaz the rudiments of the pianoforte. At seven, having outstripped these simple teachers, he was placed under the charge of Michael Holzer, the Kapellmeister of the Lichtenthal Church. Holzer`s lessons seem to have consisted mainly in expressions of admiration, and the boy gained more from a friendly joiner`s apprentice, who used to take him to a neighboring pianoforte warehouse and give him the opportunity of practising on a better instrument than the poor home could afford. The unsatisfactory character of his early training was the more serious as, at that time, a composer had little chance of success unless he could appeal to the public as a performer, and for this the meagre education was never sufficient.
In October 1808 he was received as a scholar at the Convict, which, under Antonio Salieri`s direction, had become the chief music school of Vienna, and which had the special office of training the choristers for the Court Chapel.
As 1815 was the most-prolific period of Schubert`s life, so 1816 saw the first real change in his fortunes. Somewhere about the turn of the year Spaun surprised him in the composition of Erlk