ABSTRACT

This chapter provides a short history of Viennese popular comedy, emphasizing its uniquely Viennese character and its importance in the cultural life of eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century Vienna, and describes the role of music in this repertoire. It focuses on popular influences in Franz Schubert's music, especially in the stage works. Throughout his life, Schubert failed to achieve success as a stage composer. In 1823 Schubert reused the music of "Frohlicher, seliger, herrlicher Tag!" to begin Act 3 of his last completed opera Fierrabras. Schubert's last completed opera, Fierrabras, has fewer popular touches than earlier works, as do his late songs and instrumental pieces. There are many other influences from Viennese popular comedy on Schubert's music, not only in the stage works but also throughout his oeuvre. He was clearly interested in popular idioms and their potential contributions to his compositional style.