Ed Bedford 1 p.m., Oct. 18
Did Beethoven Meet Schubert?
The all Beethoven and all Schubert concerts at the Summer Fest got me to thinking about the relationship between these two composers. The details are disputed but one thing is for sure, Schubert was one of Beethoven's torch bearers at the funeral service.
There are two occasions when Schubert is supposed to have met Beethoven. One was a visit Schubert paid to Beethoven to present him with a composition composed in the master's honor.
One version of the story says Beethoven found a minor harmonic discrepancy in the composition and that Schubert left defeated and despondent. Another version says Schubert paid Beethoven a visit but Beethoven wasn't home.
The other proposed meeting was on Beethoven's death bed. Beethoven was presented with a series of Schubert's compositions and was impressed. Schubert was then supposed to have visited Beethoven several times before his death.
The reason these incidents are question is because they were reported by Anton Schindler. Schindler was an early biographer of Beethoven's and has been proven to be a manufacturer of exaggerations and outright lies.
This does not mean that everything he wrote about Beethoven is false but it does mean that we can't trust anything he wrote.
The incident of Beethoven correcting Schubert would be a nice metaphor for who they were as composers--if it is true.
Beethoven would be playing the role of the overbearing, thundering German while Schubert could be the over-sensitive Austrian smashed by Prussian aggression.
Did the two composers meet? I'd like to believe Beethoven was visited by Schubert on his deathbed but we will never know for sure.