Schobert, Johann [Jean]
- Herbert C. Turrentine
(b Silesia, c1735; d Paris, Aug 28, 1767). Silesian harpsichordist and composer. Grimm’s testimony that he was Silesian has been generally accepted. Gerber’s Historisch-biographisches Lexicon der Tonkünstler, however, gives Strasbourg as his place of birth (though the name occurs in no contemporary Alsatian records), and Schubart in his autobiography claimed Schobert as a kinsman, supposedly from Nuremberg. Finally Riemann associated Schobert with the Mannheim school because of stylistic similarities and the dedication of op.3 to ‘M. Saum, conseiller du commerce et agent de S.A.S. Mgr le Prince Palatin’. It is possible, however, that Saum exercised his authority from Paris and that Schobert made his acquaintance there; this conjecture is supported by the fact that the records at Mannheim fail to reveal Schobert’s name.
Nothing definite is known of his life until his appearance in Paris in 1760 or 1761 and his employment in the service of the Prince of Conti. For several years thereafter he published instrumental music which was engraved at his own expense (and probably in his own home) and distributed to the various Parisian dealers – an arrangement no doubt made possible by his position with the Prince de Conti, which shielded him from the exploitation of publishers. Soon after his arrival in Paris Schobert married a Frenchwoman by whom he had at least two children. In ...