I have had an ear for classical music since childhood. No doubt that was because my parents listened to it, although my sister has never been all that keen. It also appears that I come from an artistic family, as everyone can paint or has musical ability. This has carried though to everyone in three generations. There was no musical training however in my parental home.
I can only think of four stories my mother tells about my very young years. One which she still repeats often is the fact that when the Trout Quintet by Franz Schubert was played, my parents would ask me in German; "What is that music?"
"Those are the fishes by Schubert", I replied.On the 6th and 7th February 2016 I completed my own Lied "Die Forelle". I hadn't planned to start at the top, but as my first was Kennst du das Land, the truth is that after writing only dances for years I plunged straight into advanced Lieder in the space of a year. I only realised later that "Kennst du das Land" was his most popular and it took me 80 hours. I now understand when they say that a Schubert Lied embodies everything that a Symphony does, and you don't have much time to do it in.
Later at age twelve I would sit with my father in the evenings and listened to classical music. My favourite was dances by Franz Schubert, which would always stir deep emotions.
Later, I really wanted a piano, which I finally got before age sixteen. Although it was too late to become a virtuoso, I learned quickly and could play grade five pieces within 6 months. I also started writing music.
I never had any theory training but taught myself to write music. When I read that Franz Schubert could write without a piano, that is what I trained myself to do. To hear the notes and write them on a staff.
During early adulthood I wrote a few waltzes in the style of Franz Schubert. I wrote a song making fun of an aquaintance and seriously applied myself to learning sonata form. I got back into writing music in my early forties.
There was composing software on a computer which I bought. I emailed two of my compositions to a friend and she was impressed. Later she told me that she thought that in a previous lifetime I was one or several of the great composers. She said "but I won't tell you who."
"Oh you mean Franz Schubert?" I asked.
"How did you know?" she asked in amazement.
Both Frank and Franz were school teachers.
Franz Schubert was described as intellectually advanced by his biographers, as was I Frank Reitzenstein by my teachers.
Frank is outspoken like Franz and tells it straight. Franz Schubert once said something unkind about Carl Maria von Weber, so when the two men met, Carl got even and gave advice regarding Franz' first opera. "First operas are like puppies and should be drowned."
Franz Schubert rudely said about Anselm Huettenbrenner that "This man likes eveything that I do." As you can hear from Huettenbrenner's symphony, the man was no slouch musically. It was when I read this anecdote and about the fact that Anselm Huettenbrenner tried to manage Schubert's disorganized affairs, which Schubert resented, that I realized that Anselm Huettenbrenner was my mother.
Frank and Franz both missed out on sufficient early keyboard training to become professional performers. Both became competent. I have improved quite a lot recently through persistence and would like to play in a restaurant.
I am like Franz in that my social standing, income and recognition does not match up to the number of things I can do very well.
It is said that Schubert could write without a Piano. I remember when I was young I read that and decided that I too can write without a piano. As I now back engineer Schubert's works on notation software, this is what saves me from becoming a parrot. When I feel that I am suffocated by the rigours of my methods and expectations, studying every bar, note and harmony of Franz Schubert, I just open my inner ear and insert my original melody into the piece.Frank Reitzenstein