Jewels in a rollercoaster of emotions

Franz Schubert and Rudolf Buchbinder

Franz Schubert is one of the composers Rudolf Buchbinder has grown particularly fond of during his decades-long career alongside Beethoven. In the 2024/25 season, he will bring together stars such as Jonas Kaufmann, Hilary Hahn and Gautier Capuçon to perform highlights from Schubert’s oeuvre.

© Deutsche Grammophon I Rita Newman

Franz Schubert could only guess at the fruits of this success. The first and only concert in which only his works were on the program was given by the Viennese composer a few months before his death: on 26 March 1828. Ludwig van Beethoven had died exactly one year earlier to the day. Schubert was one of the 36 torchbearers at the funeral, alongside Franz Grillparzer and Ferdinand Raimund. At this “private concert”, the Piano Trio in E flat major, D 929, was played. Rudolf Buchbinder will perform it – together with its sister work, the Piano Trio in B flat major, D 898 – with violinist Hilary Hahn and cellist Gautier Capuçon—a delightful exchange between the generations.

Schubert’s chamber music compositions with piano have always held a special place among music enthusiasts, including Rudolf Buchbinder, who has always been fascinated by the extent of Franz Schubert’s oeuvre: “Schubert’s enormous productivity has so astounded posterity that for a long time, no one even thought of collecting and organising his entire compositional output. Not until 123 years after Schubert’s death did Otto Erich Deutsch present a systematic catalogue containing around 1000 of Schubert’s original compositions. “Unfortunately,” says Buchbinder, all pianist, “he is missing a piano concerto.”

Rudolf Buchbinder presents himself this season as a versatile Schubert interpreter as a chamber musician, soloist and Lied pianist. From the multitude of “deeply moving, unmistakable and immortal works”, he will play those that have always captivated him the most in the Großer Musikvereinssaal. The “Schubertiade” at the Musikverein begins with the important song cycle “Die schöne Müllerin”. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann experiences a rollercoaster of emotions as the wandering journeyman miller. Franz Schubert wrote a vast number of songs. With just a few bars, the piano, made an equal partner to the voice by Schubert, always creates the respective scenery.

In the “Trout Quintet”, D 667, the bright little stream in the variation movement bubbles away before the mind’s eye. As tricky as the goddesses of fate may have been with Franz Schubert, the composer shows his light-hearted side in this chamber music jewel. The unusual instrumentation (the piano with a string quartet consisting of violin, viola, violoncello and double bass as partners) goes back to the commissioner, the Steyr merchant, patron and amateur cellist Sylvester Paumgartner. Rudolf Buchbinder will perform this most popular and best-known chamber music work by Schubert together with musicians from the ranks of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Schubert’s last piano sonata completed a few weeks before his early death in November 1828, is also a fixed part of the program. Schubert’s brother Ferdinand sold the manuscript together with that of the two sister works to the music publisher Anton Diabelli – which brings us full circle to Buchbinder’s “life composer” Beethoven and his own “Diabelli” project, premiered at the Musikverein in 2020.

Marion Eigl

Concerts 24/25

September 6, 2023


Großer Saal

September 6, 2023


Großer Saal

September 5, 2023


Großer Saal

    Archive, Library and Collections of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna

    Fine and fragrant

    © Julia Wesely

    Simply conduct

    Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna

    Colossal sounds

    © Deutsche Grammophon - Andreas Hechenberger

    With charisma and temperament

    © Felix Broede

    Suction effect

    © Brand photography

    Conducting on the royal road

    © Julia Wesely

    Strong relationships