…at a strictly practical level Schubert was able to keep himself warm, without expense, by staying in bed, where he was often found trying out his songs with guitar accompaniment; there is no recorded instance of a composer taking a piano to bed…
Apart from his hilarious turn of phrase, what is particularly comical about this example of John W. Duarte’s writing is that it is completely unreferenced.
I also happened to find something more recent, a compilation of transcriptions by Franz von Schlechta published in facsimile by Les Editions des Robins (consistently excellent work by Stefan Hackl, as always). In the appendix there are two essays (Richard Schmid ‘Schubert as guitarist’; Otto Erich Deutsch ‘Schubert without guitar’) that put forward opposing views on Schubert’s relationship with the guitar. Similarly to Duarte’s foreward, Deutsch’s essay completely lacking reference (which is a shame; he’s so assertive that you can’t help but doubt Schubert’s relationship with the guitar. I find myself not being able to believe what I want to not want to believe).
Listen to me explain where I stand on this argument 1630-1830 this Thursday on BBC Radio 3. As the Victoria and Albert museum opens its new European galleries, In Tune broadcasts a live special edition from the lecture hall featuring harpsichordist Richard Egarr, viol player Liam Byrne and director of the V&A Martin Roth. Ben Johnson and I will perform romantic jewels including, of course, Schubert.
(Thing I’m listening to: Fausto Romitelli – Trash TV Trance, for electric guitar)