Austria, Germany Revere Romantic Composer

Reed Travel Features

FELDKIRCH, Austria -- To mark the 200th anniversary of Franz Schubert's birth, Austria is inviting music lovers from around the world to join it in honoring one of the country's great Romantic composers.

Although Schubert never set foot in Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost and smallest province, the region will host part of a comprehensive exhibition and festival organized for the anniversary.

Germany and Liechtenstein also are taking part in the international event.

Although the composer's career was peppered with many disappointments and was hampered by his failing health, he still managed to compose a prodigious number of works by the time of his death at age 31.

Schubert was born the son of a schoolmaster in Vienna in 1797 and wrote his first symphony at age 16.

He was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir and a student of the Italian composer, Antonio Salieri.

The composer's life and work are the focal points of the Schubert 200 Exhibition, which will take place in Feldkirch, Austria, and Achberg and Lindau, Germany. There will be related special exhibits in Schwarzenberg, Austria, and Schaan, Liechtenstein.

All of the venues are within a radius of about 35 miles.

Schubert 200, which will display more than 2,000 items from collections around the world, will be complemented by several festivals throughout the summer.

The town of Feldkirch, for example, will hold its annual Schubertiade Festival from June 18 to July 1.

The festival was started in 1976 by one of the composer's admirers, Gerd Nachbauer, and this year will showcase a number of soloists and ensembles.

The Landpartie Schwarzenberg, held Aug. 27 to Sept. 7, will include recitals of lieder (songs) and chamber music.

The concerts will take place at several relatively small venues in the village.

Performances devoted to the works of Schubert will be held at Achberg Castle in Germany from May 3 through 11.

The castle dates from the 16th century and once was the centerpiece of the Achberg region. In Lindau, five concerts are scheduled from May 29 through June 1.

Ticket prices for the concerts vary, depending on the date, seats and performers.

For example, tickets for concerts in Feldkirch range from about $14 to $120.

In addition to attending performances, visitors can immerse themselves in Schubert's life and work at the various venues that make up the Schubert 200 exhibition.

* A exhibit called "Schubert's Life and Work" will be presented at Achberg Castle, located 10 minutes from Lindau. The exhibit, from May 3 to Sept. 7, sheds light on the artist's public and private life.

* "Franz Schubert as Seen by Posterity" will be held at the Municipal Museum in Lindau also from May 3 to Sept. 7.

Medallions, concert programs, stage backdrops and postcards will be among the items on display.

* "Schubert a la Carte" will be presented at the Schwarzenberg Municipal Museum from May 23 to Sept. 7.

Works by artists such as Klimt, Hrdlicka and Nowak will be on view as will a collection of 600 postcards.

Admission to most of the exhibits is about $5 per person; children under age 10 are admitted free. A program and tickets are available from the Schubertiade at (011) 43-557 672-091; fax (011) 43-557 675-450.

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