Schubert - Impromptu in G flat major D899 No.3
Type of Spiritual Experience
Franz von Schober (1796–1882) was an Austrian dilettante. Gifted, charismatic and undisciplined, he was in many ways the most prominent member of Schubert’s circle, an associate of the ‘Bildung Circle’ and already a sophisticated man of the world.
Tall, handsome, smooth, facile and verbally articulate, he was in many respects Schubert’s polar opposite. Oozing charisma, he quite overwhelmed the diminutive, tongue-tied Schubert, who quickly became an adoring admirer. He was hardly alone. Schubert’s friend and former schoolmate Eduard von Bauernfeld was almost equally entranced:
'Schober surpasses us all in mind, and still more so in speech!'
He was Schubert's closest and most influential friend.
Helpful in establishing useful opportunities and contacts in the early part of Schubert’s career, and in providing him with lodgings for extended periods, he was later blamed, most fiercely by Josef Kenner. But of course we don’t know whether Kenner was right.
“Frustratingly for posterity, this man who knew Schubert longer and better than anyone else outside his family never set down a single sentence of reminiscence”.
And that is a sign of the best friend anyone could wish for.