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Introduction * Schubert the Composer * Schubert's Times * Schubert's Vienna

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Downloadable Teacher Resource Guide:

pdf Schubert's Party : the melody musician* - This guide features the life, times and music of Franz Peter Schubert with great classroom activities and information about Pinchas Zukerman and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

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Schubert's Times

The Vienna Schubert was born into in 1797 was a prosperous city, but it was also a city that had seen much political unrest and military action. Twice during his boyhood, when he was eight and again when he was twelve, Napoleon's forces occupied the city. On one occasion, a canon ball landed right outside his school; another shell actually went through the roof. Scary times!

Social struggles - what was going on?

This was a time of great change in the way common, ordinary people thought. Up until Schubert's time, Europe had been ruled by powerful, immensely wealthy families - known as the aristocracy. They passed down their power and wealth generation after generation. No one voted for them, and no one could vote them out. Unless you were born into that social class, there was little you could do to improve your life. You had almost no rights, you worked very hard for very little money, and you paid high taxes to support the extravagant lifestyles of the rich aristocracy.

GoyaBut with the American and French Revolutions in the late eighteenth century, people began to question these ideas. They fought for freedom, equality and economic improvement - all basic human rights, they believed. And they won these rights. But not without great hardship, bloodshed and sometimes even war. One of the most important results of this struggle was the development of the middle class - a large portion of society that could afford to live quite well - not like the aristocracy, to be sure, but not in poverty either.

Important Events in Shubert's Lifetime

1797 First copper pennies minted in England
Napoleon defeats Austrians at Rivoli; advances toward Vienna
1799 Austria declares war on France
1800 Ottawa founded
Alessandro Volta produces electricity from a cell
1801 Robert Fulton produces first submarine ("Nautilus")
1805 Battle of Austerlitz: Napoleon's victory over Austro-Russian forces
1806 Official end of the Holy Roman Empire
1809 Lamarck publishes his "Système des animaux sans vertèbres"
Louis Braille, inventor of reading system for the blind, is born
Metternich named chief minister of Austria
1812 Laplace writes his "Théorie analytique"
Napoleon defeated in Russia
1813 Founding of McGill University, Montreal
"Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig; Napoleon defeated
1814 Congress of Vienna opens
1815 First steam warship, the U.S.S. Fulton (38 tons)
Napoleon defeated at Waterloo
1816 Sir David Brewster invents kaleidoscope
R.T. Laënnec invents stethoscope
1819 Danish physicist Hans C. Oersted discovers electromagneticism
1822 Birth of Gregor Mendel, founder of the science of genetics
Birth of Louis Pasteur, microbiologist
1827 Joseph Ressel invents ship's screw propeller
Karl Baedeker begins publishing travel guides
1828 Birth of Jean Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross


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