Friday, 23 March 2012

A consolation

Scottish cricket fans seeking consolation for the disappointing exit of the Scottish team from the business end of the T20 qualifying competition need look no further than BBC's Radio 3.

For starting today the channel is committing itself to playing every note of music composed by Franz Schubert.  If ever there was a composer whose music speaks consolation to the most depressed, it is Schubert.  Fantasy Bob has no idea why the BBC are embarking on this mission at this time - this year is no particular anniversary of Schubert's, and this week marks neither his birthday nor his death.  Perhaps those BBC planners foresaw Scotland's demise and thought they should have the balm ready.

Schubert's grave in Vienna -
permanently in flower and much visited
Schubert died in 1828 at the tragically young age of 31, either from typhus or from syphilis or from mercury poisoning associated with syphilis.  Poor chap. He knew he was on the way out for his final 2 years - but in this period he produced a range of music that is truly prodigious and astounding. Melodic, charming, soulful, life-affirming in every way, although containing that certain knowledge of his own mortality in every note.

Much of this great work was not played or discovered until many years after his death. While his work does not deal with cricket directly, it is clear from his music that Schubert would have had cricket in his soul - but for the fact that no English touring team had taken the game to early 19th Century Vienna.

Schubert left so much great music that FB finds it difficult to select the First XI but here are his suggestions.  Not in batting order.
Piano Sonata B flat D960
Impromptu G flat D933 no 3
Song Cycle -Winterreise D911
Octet D803
String Quintet D956
Symphony 9 D944
Song - An die Musik D547
Part song for male voices - Der Gondelfahrer D809
Piano Trio 2 E flat D929
String Quartet 14 (Death and the Maiden) D810
Symphony 8 (Unfinished) D759
Test match quality each and every one - and consolation and balm for sad Scottish supporters.

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