Brian Newbould 1997. Schubert. The music and the man. Berkeley: University of California Press, 465 pp.
A wonderful book, immensely satisfying to be in the hands of an author placing a large part of his life’s learning before the reader in such an approachable yet authoritative way. A model for any kind of authoritative treatment aimed at that elusive “general reader” (the concept of which varies greatly according to the subject matter). Valuable for many reasons including for placing Schubert in a very human surround of his young and somewhat dodgy friends, and for painting Vienna itself in those years as a city rich in immigrants from Croatia, Poland, Italy and elsewhere. Intersperses chapters primarily in this historical/personal mould with detailed musicological analysis of the early symphonies, the songs, the late piano sonatas and so on. These are technical but still the non-musicologist can (and this one will) gain a lot. The above chapters and also song-writer’s craft and the early chamber works were especially rewarding. The end matter - concise endnotes and glossary, lists of works by genre, and further reading help a lot to put Schubert’s works in context. A rich listening guide.