Franz Schubert’s fantasy about an impossible love

Schubert Fantasy F minor
A glimmer of hope. © Charles Thibo

“Schubert seems to be in love for real with Countess E. I like that. He gives her lessons.” A single line in Eduard Bauernfeld’s diary. The Viennese writer was a friend of Franz Schubert and he certainly wished the composer well – a stable, loving relationship with a respectable and inspiring woman. And Schubert was indeed in love with his piano student Caroline Esterhazy de Galantha. In 1824, the composer had spent a summer at the castle of Caroline’s family in Zselitz an der Gran, today called Zeliezovce and located in Slovakia. During the spring of 1828, a few months before his death, Schubert wrote a piano piece for four hands that forces the pianists to cross arms – with the remote possibility of touching each other. What a thrill!

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