The reception of Schubert in England, 1828-1883

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines Schubert’s reception in England between the year of his death in 1828 and the publication of Sir George Grove’s music dictionary in 1883, A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D. 1450-1883). At the time of Schubert’s death, he was hardly known in England. Chapter I explores the introduction of his music to England and his early fame as a song composer. As songs had a firm place in a domestic setting, this section seeks to understand how the association with the home affected his image. It further investigates the effects of English nationalism on Schubert’s acceptance. Chapter II examines the performers and music societies as well as general cultural forces which fostered Schubert’s recognition as an equally gifted song and instrumental composer. Issues of performance standards in the acceptance of his instrumental pieces are also examined. Chapter III investigates the Crystal Palace and the particular roles of George Grove and August Manns in the proliferation of Schubert’s music. Their rediscoveries of numerous substantial scores and subsequent national and even world premiere performances, along with the accompanying programme notes and later reviews in periodicals, helped to shape Schubert’s image. Chapter IV considers canon formation in nineteenth-century England and Schubert’s placement in the canon. It then appraises contemporary writings on avant-garde composers including Franz Hueffer’s 1874 book, Richard Wagner and the Music of the Future: History and Aesthetics, and the influence these had on canon formation in terms of Schubert’s reception. Chapter V analyses Schubert’s image in contemporary English writings, particularly Grove’s article on Schubert in the Dictionary, and assesses the degree to which a relationship between Schubert’s works and biography was established in this period. It seeks to understand how biography impacted on his image and the way in which his works were received in England.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorMichael Fend (Supervisor) & Roger Parker (Supervisor)

Cite this