Every classical composer’s career is defined by a simple composition or opera that turned into standard repertoire for symphony halls and students practicing piano or violin. J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variation, Giuseppe Verdi’s La Donna e Mobile, or Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 are some examples of music’s greater composers seeing one of their epic creations stand the test of time.
Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer who only lived to 31, but he was behind an extensive list of symphonies, concertos, and song cycles that will live on forever. From his Trio in E Flat to his Unfinished Symphony, Schubert produced a library of music that can be enjoyed at any time, whether you are melancholic or joyful.
While it can be hard to pinpoint his best composition, Winterreise (Winter Journey) is perhaps the one that set the bar for many of his contemporaries: 24 songs for voice and piano based on poems by Wilhelm Muller.
Within this series, the most impressive and heart-wrenching piece was “Der Leiermann”. But the entire set is some incredible music.
When you learn that Schubert composed this when he was dying of syphilis, you start to hear the morose and pending doom in the music. It is said that to accurately perform Winterreise, "You have to be haunted by this cycle to be able to sing it." Anyone can hear the soul in agony listening to the lyrics behind “Der Leiermann.”
“Back of the village stands a hurdy-gurdy man, cranking his instrument with frozen finge...