Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Beethoven's biggest fan?

Once a stern critic of German music, Franz Schubert became passionate devotee of Beethoven later in life, so much so that he asked on his deathbed to be buried with his idol.

Beethoven and Schubert

Although as a teenager Franz Schubert wrote that Austrian music should rid itself of Germanic influence - a clear reference to Beethoven - he was later to change his mind totally.

He became a passionate devotee of Beethoven's music and remained so until his early death.

On his deathbed he asked that his body be buried in a grave alongside Beethoven's, which it was, in the little Währinger cemetery - less than a year after Beethoven's own death.

Both bodies were disinterred in 1863 and the skeletons examined. Beethoven's skull was found to be thick and his jawbone strong; by contrast Schubert's skull was fine and almost feminine. The two composers were reburied in Vienna's main cemetery, the Zentralfriedhof, in 1888 - again alongside one another - where they lie today.

There is no evidence the two men ever met. On his deathbed, Beethoven was brought scores of Schubert's songs and declared himself impressed.

Schubert wrote once that he saw Beethoven across the room in a crowded coffee house, but did not have the courage to approach him.