I am looking forward to Radio 3's Spirit of Schubert season. All his music will be played, at one point or another, over . They have gone to town with social media, with a Tumblr and a Twitter account, the latter under the name Franz is unwell.
My introduction to Schubert came I think through the pages of Look and Learn, an improving magazine for young people which, strange child that I was, I begged my parents to buy me. Every week there was a single page cartoon strip biography of a famous figure from history. I remember Schubert's, and one illustration in particular which depicted a plump bespectacled man in a Vienna café, composing on the back of a menu. I remember learning that he died young, in miserable circumstances, though the magazine had not one word about syphilis in it. Later, the very first piece of music I played in an orchestra was the Rosamunde overture, under the genial baton of Graham Sudbury, the school music master. There is a clarinet figure a little way in, not technically difficult at all, but to an eleven-year old, terrifyingly exposed. I took the part home and practised and practised. A treasured eighteenth birthday present was a recording of the Tod und das Mädchen quartet. I played the Impromptus on a cassette in the first car I owned, driving to the funeral of my parents' closest friend. I transferred the CDs of the Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore's lieder recordings onto my first iPod..
I am intrigued by Twitter accounts in the names of the long-dead and famous. Though I follow no living celebrities, apart from Stephen Fry, and this only because the government has decreed that all British citizens must follow @stephenfry, I find the tweets of such as @AlexanderIII or @MmedePomp, to name but two, endlessly fascinating. There are two modes of tweeting if you are a dead historical character; in the first the tweets are more or less entirely made up of the character's sayings or writing; in the second the character will comment on twenty-first century events and concerns. I have nothing but admiration for the people behind these accounts. Apart from a deep knowledge of one's subject, the tweeter must be endlessly resourceful to maintain a string of entertaining tweets. I could never do it. Mind you, has anyone claimed Edward Gibbon?