Teresa Grob - Heinrich Hollpein
Retrat de Teresa Grob - H. Hollpein
 
- "My love, will you marry me?"
- "Yes I will!"
- "Well, I'll take my wages to the jugde, let's see what he decides."
 
In 1815, a new law came into effect in Vienna, the Ehe Konsens Gesetz (law of consent of marriage), which established that a man could only get marry if he proved his financial solvency. I find that law amazing, not only because it interfered with citizens' private lives (something usual in Metternich's era), but also because I think that many people would follow their lives anyway, with or without a marriage certificate. Or maybe not, maybe many people gave up and abandon the idea to have a family. I don't know either if there was a police force who controlled that families had a marriage certificate or what happened if they didn't. The requirement to prove the demanded incomes didn't affect every man in Vienna, seven estates or professions (headed by the nobles, of course) were beyond that law. In practice, the law concerned 70% of men. And what about women? The law didn't mention them, I suppose they were concerned de facto if their fiancés lived in Vienna. In any case, in Vienna or in any other place, women were supervised by their families. If you want to know something more about this law, I found those details in the book Sozialgeschichte Österreichs by Ernst Bruckmüller.

I'm talking about that law because it concerned men living in Vienna, Franz Schubert among them, and what concerns Schubert is of interest to us. The fourth group of citizens beyond that law included teachers; that year 1815, Schubert began to teach as a assistant at his father's school. It also seems that the young Franz had fallen in love some weeks before with Therese Grob, who sang the soprano solo in the interpretation of Schubert's Mass in F that commemorated the centenary of Lichtental's church, the parish of both families, Schubert and Grob. It's said that Schubert and Therese had a relationship for a while; as the two families were friends (especially Franz and Heinrich, Therese's brother) and musical evenings were common in their homes, the two young people met often to play music together. We only have two witnesses of Schubert's feelings: One of them was Anton Holzapfel, who recalled in his memories that in 1815, Schubert, too shy for a straight talk, sent him a letter in which he spoke enthusiastically of his love for Therese. The other friend is Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who explains that in 1822 he asked to Schubert if he had ever fallen in love and that he replied: "I loved deeply a woman and she also loved me. [...] I still love her, and I've ever known no other better than her." Schubert also told Hüttenbrenner that she had waited for him for three years but eventually (in 1820) she had married another man.

As we know, Schubert died unmarried. There's only one more woman in his biography, Countess Caroline Esterházy; to get married with her would have been utterly impossible due to their social class differences. Some scholars argue that Schubert was homosexual; if so, he had enough reasons to behave with discretion. In any case, we can't ignore that he contracted syphilis in 1823, and that, unfortunately, was a serious impediment to have a relationship. But I can't help thinking that as a school teacher he could have married without asking for permission and as composer would have been almost impossible in any case. In December 1816, when Franz Schubert left his job as a teacher, he was also renouncing his marriage with Therese or any other woman. Was he aware of it? He wasn't eighteen yet, was marriage important for someone that age? Trusted he in his success as a composer? Who knows...

The love story between Franz Schubert and Therese Grob had a musical consequence, a gift from Franz to Therese in her eighteenth birthday, in November 1816. It's known as "Therese Grob Songbook" and includes seventeen Lieder copied by Franz; he composed sixteen and the 17th appears to be by Therese. This week we're listening to the first song, Edone, D. 445. Might it be a dedication? It looks like that, if we read the Friedrich Klopstock's poem... It's a very short, tender song, I hope you like it. The performers are Christoph Prégardien and Graham Johnson.

With this post we're starting the 2015-2016 season. I wish you a very happy season with lots of good music!
 
Edone
 

Dein süßes Bild, Edone
Schwebt stets vor meinem Blick;
Allein in trüben Zähren
Daß du es selbst nicht bist.

Ich seh' es, wenn der Abend mir dämmert,
Wenn der Mond mir glänzt,
Seh' ich's, und weine -
Daß du es selbst nicht bist.

Bei jenes Tales Blumen,
Die ich ihr lesen will,
Bei jenen Myrtenzweigen,
Die ich ihr flechten will,

Beschwör ich dich Erscheinung,
Auf! und verwandle dich!
Verwandle dich Erscheinung
Und werd' Edone selbst!

 
If you need an English translation please visit this link.
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