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After Franz Schubert died at the age of 31, his brother gathered some manuscripts of songs and sold them to a publisher. The songs had no common theme, but they decided to give the collection the name "Swan Songs."
The songs did not sell, and were neglected for ten years until piano arrangements were made of them by Franz Liszt, who performed these transcription at a concert to benefit the victims of a flood in Hungary that wiped out the city of Pest (now part of Budapest).
Today, when a football coach announces that he is leaving the team, sports announcers refer to the speech as "his swan song." They likely have never heard of Franz Schubert, but these songs proved so influential, that the term "swan song" has entered the English vocabulary as someone's parting or dying statement.
From the collection "Swan Songs" this is the Serenade. (Other songs from this collection by Schubert that I have arranged are Doppelg�ngerand Die Stadt.) In a collection of sad songs, this is probably the saddest song ever written.
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