Schubert in 1815, age 18
The year 1815 has been called Schubert’s annus mirabilis. This hardly overstates the case. His output in this year can be summarized as: four Singspiele, a symphony and a half, a string quartet, nine works for solo piano, eight or nine church works involving orchestra, some two dozen partsongs mostly with piano accompaniment, and about 140 songs. It is worth analyzing the rate of productivity and extrapolating an illustration that will be readily understood by anyone who has dabbled in composition, has played music if only for private pleasure, or simply knows a few works by Schubert. Schubert composed about 21,850 bars of music in this one year, of which 11,072 involved an orchestra. Arranged out over the calendar year of 52 weeks, this amounts to an output of 420 bars a week, of which 213 bars involve an orchestra. This would mean that Schubert produced, in each week of 1815, the equivalent of the slow movement of the Third Symphony; the Gloria of the Mass in G; the slow movement of the E major piano sonata, D. 157; the partsong Trinklied for TTBB and piano, D. 267; Erster Verlust; Heidenröslein; Sehnsucht [Lieder].
Given that this illustration permits no weekends off and not even a single day’s holiday throughout the year, it would be remarkable enough if Schubert were a full-time composer. But he was employed throughout the year as a teacher in his father’s primary school. Taking all these factors into account, and the fact that Schubert maintained social contacts, had twice-weekly lessons with Salieri, went to concerts and opera performances, undertook some private teaching, attended the regular [family] orchestra rehearsals at Frischling’s, and presumably enjoyed moments of relaxation and exercise, his productivity was phenomenal … If a true composer is one who can seldom escape the compulsion to compose, Schubert was probably the truest composer of all time.
Schubert: The Music and the Man, Brian Newbould