Interesting how Scruton's piece is written in abstractions, generalities, with high-flown pathos as sauce.
"We have lost touch with what matters, which is the poignant sense of being."
"The result is as life-affirming as any music that I know. The experience of loss endows Schubert’s two great song-cycles – Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin – with their sacred character. You cannot listen to these works in just any mood. The space that they define is a religious space, a space of pure epiphanies."
Winterreise ends with an old man, frozen into a state almost tangential to life or death (into the state of Wordsworth's Solitaries, say) but certainly not into a state that transcends life or death. He plays a droning melody on a hurdy-gurdy, obviously for coins (so like Wordsworth's solitaries he continues to scrape enough to sustain bare life, & to have some uncanny motivation to do so) & is barked at by dogs & taunted by children. He hasn't got any shoes. He walks barefoot on ice. & the "shadow of death" in Schubert wasn't something immaterial - it was syphilis.
All of which is very distant from Scruton's high-minded formulations. If the song-cycles "define" any space it's surely an a-religious rather than anti-religious space. I think Schubert's greatest music is like very little else, but I don't think it's served well by Scruton's high cultural banalities & platitudes. As for the 200 hours: the songs put into context, with discussions of the poets & literary movements Schubert set or was connected to; the instrumental music in connection with Viennese musical life at the time, that could be superb broadcasting. If they are just going to play everything with no context or differentiation, then I agree with Jim's "Schubert isn't necessarily going to be best served by 200 hours of his music being broadcast without interruption."