Our local chamber players, the Takacs, performed the Schubert Quintet (D.956). It's a glorious work -- one of the finest in the entire chamber repertoire -- and was brilliantly performed. It's a turbulent, nervous, tense piece of music. With the last notes, the entire audience rose simultaneously to cheer. There were fist-pumpings, whistles, "bravos," "yesses," and other spontaneous shouts of pleasure from the octogenarian listeners. It was a rock and roll moment at Grusin Hall.
I cheered too, but not so much for the Takacs as for Schubert. It's so often the case that the interpreters are rewarded while the creator is neglected. Here's Schubert, dead of poverty and syphilis and mercury poisoning at age 31, never having made a nickel out of his many compositions. In desperate straits, with only two months to live, Schubert sent his new quintet to the Leipzig publisher H. A. Probst. Probst rejected it, asking instead for something "easily understandable." The world "does not yet sufficiently and generally understand the peculiar, often ingenious, but perhaps now and then somewhat curious precedures of your mind's creations." The quintet was first performed in 1850, twenty-two years after Schubert breathed his last.
Is there a moral? Yes, I think there is. If you're in the composing or painting or novel-writing business, do it your own way -- not the easy way. If you lose, you lose. So what? If you win, you win big.