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Franz Schubert and Rosamunde

By Tim Hazell

Despite his short lifetime, Franz Peter Schubert (1797–1828) left behind a vast oeuvre, including more than 600 secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven complete symphonies, sacred music, operas, and a large body of piano and chamber music. His major accomplishments include the Piano Quintet in A major, the Symphony No 8 in B minor (“Unfinished Symphony”), and the incidental music to the play Rosamunde.

Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern (Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus) was a play by Helmina von Chézy, which is primarily remembered for the accompaniment that Franz Schubert composed for it. The music and play premiered in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on December 20, 1823.

Born in the Himmelpfortgrund suburb of Vienna, Schubert’s gifts were evident from an early age, as soon as he began violin studies with his Father Franz Theodor and piano with his older brother Ignaz. The precocious adolescent caught the attention of Antonio Salieri, Vienna’s leading musical authority, in 1804. In November 1808, Schubert became a pupil at the Imperial Seminary through a choir scholarship and was introduced to the overtures and symphonies of Mozart, Joseph Haydn, and Beethoven—a composer for whom he developed a lifelong admiration.

In 1822, Schubert made the acquaintance of both Weber and Beethoven, who on his deathbed is said to have perused some of the younger man’s works and exclaimed, “Truly, the spark of divine genius!”

Beethoven’s passing in March 1827 affected him deeply. That year, Schubert wrote the song cycle Winterreise, the Fantasy in C Major for violin and piano, the Mass in E-flat Major, the String Quintet in C Major, the second “Benedictus” to the Mass in C Major, and the three final piano sonatas, among other masterworks.

Suffering from deteriorating health, the composer died in Vienna at age 31 on November 19, 1828, at the apartment of his brother Ferdinand. He is buried in the famous Vienna Central Cemetery, close to the graves of Beethoven, Johann Strauss II, and Johannes Brahms.

Austria’s partiality for the good life, beauty, and cultivation has been a driving force throughout the country’s illustrious past and present. This omelet recipe is a sophisticated variation of an iconic breakfast standard.

 

Austrian Omelet

Austrian Omelet 1

Serves 2–3

 

Ingredients:

5 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

5 tbsp white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup raisins

2 tbsp butter

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Fresh fruit of choice

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, and sugar. Slowly stir in the flour until the mixture becomes smooth. Add the raisins. Melt the butter in a large skillet, and pour in the egg mix. Carefully fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is golden and the top is set. Gently flip the omelet, using one or two large spatulas. If it comes apart, the results will still be delicious!

Briefly cook the other side, then divide omelet with a spatula into small squares. Serve with fruit of choice and powdered sugar.

 

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