FL 2 4011-7

Schubert: The Major Piano Works: Sonatas, Impromptus, Moments musicaux & "Wanderer" Fantasy

Release date April 11, 2000
Album code FL 2 4011-7
Periods Romantic
Genres Piano

Album information


Sonata in E flat Major, D. 568 (Op. 122)

Combine the infectiously charming dance rhythms of Vienna with the immortal melodies of her greatest song-writer; and sprinkle generously with his inimitable, genial harmonies, and there you will have Franz Schubert’s own personal “Trinity” which “saved” Him for us. The Sonata in E flat Major, D. 568, is the first to amalgamate those three elements so masterfully, and in fact a finer piano sonata composed by a 20-year-old is impossible to imagine. While its appeal is not dependent on knowing the composer’s age, still, contemplating his youth may create the need to pinch oneself to confirm that it is not a dream, but real music created on planet earth.

A wholesome, angelic mood prevails, but does not inhibit detours to the dance floor, nor sections of profoundly moving expression. The opening Allegro moderato [1] is in 3/4 time, which contributes to its roundness and its affinity for dance motions. The untranslatable German “Gemütlichkeit”—good-natured grace comes close—surrounds the main theme’s floating climb up the tonic triad and its dotted, caressing descent.

A cloud of E flat minor rises ominously (0:48), but stops short of true despair as it leads to the second subject (1:06), whose bouncing accompaniment dances away under a carefree, soaring tune. A surprising modulation (1:36) leads to yet another theme, which is developed most colourfully. An interesting touch brings back the “ominous” transition theme, but with most of its threatening qualities neutralized (2:15). In the ensuing extensive development (5:44), episodes of fervent power trade places with delightfully delicate arabesques.

The Andante [2] at first radiates a pensive, almost melancholy atmosphere; the theme gingerly circumvents the normal tonic close in favour of a short extension that drifts down a series of 5 descending steps (0:32)—slightly puzzled, as though it had lost its way. It pauses briefly to get its bearings, only to find itself on its own doorstep, and steps inside for a brief restatement of the theme. Thereupon the 5 descending steps lead to a cadence (1:01) (the one that was side-stepped the first time) and are then immediately repeated 6 times in a pleading sequel, embedding themselves in our memory. A new motive and key is introduced (1:31), alternating sforzato chords of mock severity with sweetly blushing answers. Barely avoiding the point of tedium, we hear two halting, tentative reminders of the descending motive (2:08).

Perhaps this all seems excessively detailed; who wants to read a movie script when the movie is there, ready to be watched? Why bother translating every step of something divine into something so academic? Because the manner in which these 5 notes (now modified with a breathless dotted rhythm) dominate one of Schubert’s most stirring and dramatic slow movement developments (2:23) is so extraordinary that tracing their origin is worthwhile to illuminate the movement’s subtle cohesion. This is further shown by the omission, in the ornamented recapitulation (3:21), of the section with the descending note pattern, which is neatly saved for the coda (5:36) where, exhausted, it finally succumbs as a faint echo in the left hand (6:03).

The warm yet playful Menuetto [3] alternates songfulness and coquetterie most disarmingly; an unusual feature is the extensive use of the same dotted rhythm in both the main section and the trio (middle) section (1:56). If the good-natured charm of the latter sounds suspiciously familiar, it is because Schubert used it in an earlier piece, the Scherzo in D flat Major.
The finale’s fresh and ingratiating theme [4] romps along like a celestial music-box: delightful but not important. This makes the impact all the greater when it flows seamlessly into the most inspired part of the whole Sonata, where Schubert spins out that heartfelt bittersweet mixture of joy and sorrow so characteristic of him. Here is a cornucopia of no less than four new themes (0:40) (in three different keys), varying in expression from the soaring poignance of the first and the high-pitched tenderness of the second, to the lilting dance-rhythm of the next and the resigned meekness of the last. Entwining and integrating all of these is a magically inventive flow of 16th notes which alternates between accompanying and leading the action.

With 5 splendid themes to choose from, what does the composer do, come the development (4:30)? Being in such a fertile and inventive mood, he apparently finds it easier to provide yet another new joyous dance tune than to make a perplexing choice among all the worthy candidates! The kernel of this new tune is derived from the fading moments of the ubiquitous cascading 16th notes; as they connect the exposition to the development and just seem ready to end their term of service, they are rapidly re-enlisted to form the substance of the new theme.

As in the exposition, the new theme first touches us mainly with happiness, but gradually becomes more serious and forceful (5:41). It is finally transformed back into the 16th note motive whence it originated, just as a magician, after changing your necklace into a flower usually reverses the metamorphosis before returning the object to you! The resurrected motive finally descends (6:00), gradually dispersing its momentum, to serve as a bridge to the recapitulation—just as it served to connect the exposition with the development, and as it will serve, intermingled with strains of the opening theme, to quietly extinguish this superb masterwork.

Sonata in B Major, D. 575 (Op.147)

The most seldom heard of Schubert’s completed piano sonatas, the Sonata in B Major (D. 575) is a rather bizarre work, standing quite apart from the rest of its flock. I still remember my considerable sense of disappointment the first time I heard it, as a teenager, so learning it was the task I least looked forward to when I embarked on the project of performing the complete sonatas. However, it turned out to be like one of those rare social pleasures, in which a companion always deemed to have been dull reveals qualities of considerable fascination. Probably the performance I heard used a rather anaemic, literal approach, in an attempt to homogenize rather than highlight the quirky and sometimes outright hilarious features of this work.

Grotesquely splashed with colourful contrasts, the main theme [5] is anything but lyrical. It starts by leaping ever higher up the tonic triad, like a youngster trying to grab a prize just above his reach, only to tumble into a heap on the floor. This fall is brushed off nonchalantly with a chromatically descending line, and followed by a boisterous non-sequitur (0:23) (related only by the relentless, snappy dotted rhythm): an outburst of outrageously loud C Major chords (just a few paces into a B Major piece!). This turns out to be the pivot point of a fast and rather crude modulation to the absolutely unrelated key of G major.

Even for Schubert’s wondrously original and ever surprising harmonic palette, this digression—complete with a new key signature—is a pretty wild way of moving from the tonic to the subdominant (itself a fairly unusual and somewhat bland choice for the second theme). Our composer, who usually conjures up the most sensual and touching effects with his harmonies, seems to be just fooling around here, trying to scandalize us with his impudent harmonic legerdemain.

The G Major transition theme (0:33) displays an unyielding ostinato rhythm: no less than 13 consecutive bars repeat it. (It is actually identical to the rhythm of the opening motive, except that the long note is now filled in with three flowing quarter notes). The dotted rhythm also permeates the friendly but slightly unfocussed rambling of the second theme (1:05).

An interesting feature of many of Schubert’s early works is the importance he bestows on the closing subject, which his contemporaries tended to treat more perfunctorily, as just a ceremonial gesture to end the exposition. In Schubert, we often find the three exposition themes treated quite democratically, each being given a similar degree of attention.
In this movement the closing theme (1:28) actually occupies more space than the others, and is distinctly more memorable. It divorces itself from the second subject both in tonality (moving back up to the more normal dominant key) and in character. This is fortunate, for if the casual, easy-going burlesque were to continue much longer, it would become tiresome indeed. Instead, we find here a spring of tender delight, the sensuous real Schubert putting at least a momentary end to all the buffoonery. This theme at first retains a vestige of the dotted rhythm hidden in the bass, but soon this too is smoothed out, as the treble takes over and transforms it into a sweet, flowing melody.

The development (4:14) quite ignores these delightful moments and compulsively reiterates the leaping motive of the opening, more grotesque than ever, until it sounds like the braying of a drunken donkey. Three key signature changes within 17 bars testify to its exotic and unchaste harmonic behaviour; the composer must have been trying to rid himself of all his most farfetched harmonic puns in one fell swoop!

The recapitulation starts, as in many of Schubert’s early works, in the subdominant, rather than the tonic. This tactic has been criticized—with some justification—as a lazy man’s way of dealing with sonata form; for it allows the task of completing the movement to be relegated to the copyist. (The exposition’s trip from the tonic to the dominant becomes identical to the recapitulation’s journey from the subdominant to the tonic, both rising a perfect fifth, so the exposition can simply be transposed and repeated “notebatim”.) This questionable practice wipes out the colourful change in key relationships between the main themes, the fresh transition usually linking them, and the drama and climactic satisfaction often found in a traditional recapitulation’s return to both the main theme and the main key simultaneously. But at least it can illuminate the themes in a fresh manner, for neither is recapitulated in its original key.

The middle movements are the sonata’s strongest, and we pianists are lucky they did not rather find their way into a string quartet, for their exquisitely conversational counterpoint and consistent four-voice setting make them ideal candidates for that medium. The Andante’s gracious and spiritual flow [6] is a welcome foil to the preceding churlish maneuvers.

Continuing the quartet analogy, a gorgeous cello line breaks out to form the middle part of the first section (0:36). (It is relatively rare for Schubert to put his inspired melodies into the bass line.) An unexpected 5-bar fortissimo explosion (2:06) starts the central section, but quickly leads to the most touching episode in the entire work, a magical interplay between violin and cello (2:23). An uneventful recapitulation (3:46) leads to a coda (5:36) which is as moving as it is brief.

The Scherzo [6] is the first in Schubert’s sonatas, but is almost as full of charm and delicious harmonic surprises as any. The tempo indication “Allegretto” would seem to demand a touch of the poise associated with the earlier Menuetto style, without detracting from its verve and sparkle. A slightly languid Ländler (2:41) forms the contrasting middle section.

The Finale [8] quickly restores the clowning mood of the first movement. The enthusiastic, impatient theme simply claws its way up, with a little thump, to the unrelated and somewhat homely juxtaposition of D Major (the D sounding blunt next to the D# of B Major), only to spill back to B Major after a few bars. A simple and colourfully harmonized second subject (0:32) briefly explores a mood of carefree sweetness before leading on to a somewhat bland closing theme (0:52) that borrows—and overworks—the movement’s opening motive.

Matters deteriorate further as the three descending notes of this theme start the development with a maliciously awkward, limping dance (2:33) that borders on banality. The remainder of the development seems mainly to mark time as it flirts through several awkward modulations, leaving us thankful for the welcome relief of the concluding recapitulation (3:10).

Fantasy in C Major (“Wanderer”), D. 760 (Op. 15)

Many great composers accepted the basic forms of musical composition almost as axioms, and used their genius mainly in exploiting these forms to their highest potential. The more conscious striving of composers like Beethoven and Schubert to wed spontaneity and logic in their musical structures led, among other things, to the novel concept of using the same theme in more than one movement of a piece.

The idea was perhaps not so new after all; the themes of various movements of many Bach cantatas are derived from the final chorale, and Mozart on a few occasions used closely related themes for different movements of the same piece (see for example his Horn Quintet). Beethoven ‘s experiments with such “cyclic” forms were confined to the brief reappearance of themes from a previous movement, as in the finale of the 9th Symphony. Schubert also used this device (for example in the last movement of the Piano Trio in E flat Major), but the “Wanderer” Fantasy, written in 1822, is the earliest striking example of a whole piece entirely based on one musical idea.

The Fantasy derives its name from the song “Der Wanderer”, to which it is closely related: the theme of the Fantasy’s slow movement is almost identical to a section in the middle of the song; several details from the first part of the song are used; and both works vacillate between C# Major and C# minor. Curiously, the rhythmic nucleus of the “Wanderer”, a dactyl—a long note followed by two short ones—is very secondary in the song.

The opening [9] immediately establishes this rhythm in two terse and dramatic 3-bar phrases, which are followed by a short but obstinate development of the motive. After the opening is echoed distantly, a rather conventional modulation leads to the dominant, G Major (1:26), which is however genially turned aside to the much more remote E Major—a typical Schubertian procedure. The second theme retains but completely transforms the principal motive, giving it a warmth and tenderness that is quite stunning, juxtaposed as it is with the heroic tumult still reverberating from its cousin.

A sudden return to the opening theme (turned upside down) (2:17) leads to the turbulent development (2:40), which in turn is interrupted by a delightful cantabile section based on a fragment of the second theme (3:36). Soon, the principal motive returns vigorously in the remote key of D flat Major (4:23) and persists until the movement fades to an end.
After the Adagio’s theme [10], and its tender E Major sequel (1:02), a brief angry outburst (2:40) leads to 4 simple variations which outdo each other in coaxing splendidly contrasting sonorities from the piano. The distant, spine-tingling scales of the last variation (4:26) lead to a frenzied cadenza, which ends with moaning tremolos (5:32) that alternate with eerie echoes of the theme.

The third movement [11] follows basically the same pattern as the first, except that it has been altered from 4/4 to 3/4 time and becomes very Viennese in the process. The addition of a dotted rhythm adds a touch of charm to the motive, thereby deflecting much of its heroism; later, with the addition of a bouncing accompaniment, it becomes graciousness incarnate.
A fond and introspective episode toward the end of the movement brings a rare moment of sweet repose (2:12). Its motive seems quite new, but is still related (one might say, by marriage!) to the main theme: the ascent of a third from its opening, dissonant note, followed by a step down to resolve the dissonance (known as an “échappée”), was the main feature of the first movement’s second theme, which itself was derived from the crashing chords of the main theme’s third bar. Following this moment of tranquillity, a normal recapitulation seems to begin (2:46), but soon modulates with great speed and excitement, leading to a climax on the dominant of C Major. It was probably this difficult passage, with its perilous leaps (4:25), that caused Schubert, while performing for his friends, to stop, throw up his arms in despair, and say something like: “Let the devil play this, I can’t!”

The final movement starts by hammering out the naked principal motive in the bass [12], faster than before, and with its first six measures condensed into four. It seems to have pretensions of becoming a fugue, but soon dissolves into brilliant and forward-moving pianistic flourishes amidst frequent repetitions of the theme. Clearly, this movement could not very well stand on its own, but it makes a fitting end to this enormous (but short, by Schubert’s standard) work, serving both as the missing recapitulation to the first movement and as a glorious coda to the entire piece.

CD 2

Sonata in A minor, D. 845 (Op. 42)

Ideas flowed from Schubert copiously and spontaneously. How else could he have created so much in such a tragically short career? But his forms never suffer from that type of over-generosity which runs innumerable tunes by the listener, until he knows not which is which and what is where. He did on occasion experiment—very successfully—with building sonata form out of three themes of about equal importance, rather than the more usual two; but more often he concentrated heavily on just one or two ideas, weaving his inimitable harmonic and rhythmic net around them so magically that they remain fresh and meaningful even after being quite fully exploited. Those who sometimes find Schubert long-winded are probably listening to the material more attentively than to its ever-changing context.

The opening movement [1] of the A minor Sonata, D. 845, is a case in point, as it relies almost totally on the casual but haunting theme sung by its first seven notes. Even the slowing—almost plodding—answer to their wistful question-mark is of little significance to the course of the piece. The slowing of this answer is prescribed by the composer, in contrast to the slight acceleration needed, but not indicated, in the ensuing rabble-rousing episode of syncopated notes and chords (0:30) that leads to the second main thematic feature, a sternly assertive figure of rhythmic repeated notes (0:54). Playing this at the slowest plausible tempo (without permitting it to become leaden and constipated), one will find the pace already far too fast for the opening theme’s fragrant aura of nostalgia. Indeed, Schubert’s music often discourages strict adherence to the principle of never changing tempo unless indicated by the composer; considerable flexibility is needed to allow the personality of contrasting ideas to shine forth naturally and convincingly.

The gruff character of this ostinato episode is rapidly melted away, as a typically Schubertian modulatory maneuver turns it into the nucleus of the second subject (1:14), whose infectious lilt soars every so often in an outburst of overwhelming warmth. But this happy C Major episode soon gives way, after a short pause, to a gloomy C minor version of the opening theme (1:48), and then to the closing theme (2:17)—a tamed, hollow version of the repeated note figure, interspersed with elements from the main theme, especially its piquant little mordent.

The development (5:17) fixes our attention exclusively—indeed, hypnotically—on the main motive. Notice how its rhythm becomes softened; eventually only a fragment of it survives, heard in the bass under a cascade of shimmering notes overhead (6:06).

Where is the recapitulation? A frail, solitary wisp of the main theme emerges (6:52) and is answered canonically, two octaves lower. It is the right spot and the right theme for the recapitulation, but the wrong key. We brush through the right key (7:05), but move right on to yet a third tonality, so it hardly feels like home. Several glorious modulations later, we find ourselves working through the same “rabble-rousing” syncopations (7:31) heard near the beginning, and recognize a dramatic return to the tonic (8:00). This now really does feel as though we are back home—though it is the wrong theme!

With hindsight, we can imagine how hard it would be, here in the middle of the movement, to create the peaceful, timeless mood needed to restate the opening. The shape of the piece would sag and stall helplessly. So why not restate the strongest part first, and leave the main theme for the end of the recapitulation, whence it can lead smoothly on to the extended coda? Here we have a fine example of the content quite properly overruling formal stereotypes.

The slow movement [2] is one of Schubert’s most magnificent sets of variations. Curiously for a composer who wrote such memorable variations as those in the 2-cello Quintet, the “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, the “Wanderer” Fantasy and the violin Fantasy, these are the only variations in the piano sonatas. Simplicity, nobility and the intentional absence of a striking melodic component characterize the theme; what melody there is, is mostly camouflaged in the middle voice. It is a splendid tablecloth, on which five sumptuous—and richly melodic—variation courses will be spread.

A special problem is presented in the second half of the first variation: 4 measures were apparently left out by the copyist (the autograph manuscript has disappeared). It is unthinkable that Schubert intended this truncation, for the resulting early return of the opening measures would throw the whole variation out of balance. It was a pleasant challenge to reinvent these missing measures (2:36-2:44).

Along with the incredible melodic invention displayed in the variations, there is a harmonic splendour and a variety of colours and emotions that is spectacular, even by Schubert’s standards. They flow into each other beautifully, so that one hardly senses joints between them, and the overall shape is superb: the pace and intensity augment to create an unexpected degree of passion. The excursion to C minor and A flat Major for the 3rd (5:18) and 4th (7:33) variations also helps make the celestial calm of the return to the tonic in the last variation (9:43) and coda quite special, like the distant glowing of mountain peaks just after sunset.

Nervous and asymmetric rhythms, exclamatory outbursts and exotic harmonic surprises make the Scherzo [3] Schubert’s first, among the sonatas, to clearly break with the Menuetto tradition. Freshness, whimsy and sensuality chase each other merrily about. Note how the anxious, chattering rhythm of the opening recurs with triumphant majesty at the end (1:59). The Trio (3:26) is a splendid contrast, sighing gently while mainly repeating just one distant, swaying rhythm.

The Rondo [4] is a delicate perpetuum mobile (often played too fast to allow its subtle melodic twists to captivate us). Lightly melancholic and entirely unpretentious, it is interspersed with episodes that present tongue-in-cheek fanfares (0:25), an unobtrusive tune in A Major (2:24), and an excellent and angry contrapuntal development of the main motive (3:00). The rondo theme makes one of its reappearances in the subdominant rather than the tonic, saving it from any danger of becoming tiresome, and the final page (4:43) brings a breathless acceleration to end this unique sonata with a very exciting flourish.

Sonata in C minor, D. 958 (Op. posth.)

Composed in the final few months of his life, Schubert’s last three Piano Sonatas form a unique monument to the pure well of his inspired genius. These supreme masterworks are known as his “Posthumous Sonatas”, as they were not published until 10 years after his death.

One of my most deservedly eminent colleagues has attempted to show, in a lecture to the Royal Society, that these three sonatas are intimately related, and that the source of all material in them is in fact derived from the opening theme of the C minor Sonata! I am still perplexed as to whether this was in fact a serious thesis, or perhaps intended as a sarcastic lampoon of those musical detectives who like to trace the most ephemeral (and inaudible) resemblances and claim, preposterously, that these are the sinews which bind together great masterpieces.

There being a severely limited number of intervals and rhythms that can be used (especially in the early 19th century), patterns of coincidence can always be seen if one looks hard enough. But the ones that matter are those that can be heard, and if a performer like myself can be intimately familiar with these works and never have noticed motivic relationships between them, what significance can they possibly have for even the most sophisticated connoisseur? The fact, for example, that each of the three sonatas has a rising line in its opening theme no more relates the sonatas to each than the fact that there are exactly five notes in each sonata’s opening chord.

In truth, aside from the many Schubertian stylistic trademarks they share, their individuality and the contrast between them far outweigh any similarities that microscopic musical archeology can reveal. Naturally they each have enormous contrasts within and between their 4 movements, but overall the C minor Sonata is somber, tormented and fervent; it is the most dramatic of Schubert’s Sonatas, though certainly not without affecting moments of tenderness and even charm. The A Major Sonata is warm and eloquent, yet exquisitely informal; the heroic qualities of the beginning and end are just bookend fanfares that celebrate those moments and help keep the work from bursting apart. The last of the three, the famous B flat Major Sonata, is ethereal, introspective and utterly songful in its deep and sustained lyricism.

The C minor Sonata‘s agitated, almost desperate opening [6] pries its way ineluctably upwards, first to the stunning A flat octaves in the 12th bar, and then, with only slightly less heat, back to C minor. Though eventually followed by a gently wandering, songful second subject (1:07), the opening sets the tone of terseness and economy that dominates this, the shortest among Schubert’s last 6 sonatas.

The development (6:12) reaffirms the turbulent nature of the movement; it even approaches the realm of the macabre, with the hushed and bizarre chromatic ruminations (7:28) that precede the dramatic return of the main theme. The first premonition of this return is the apparition, deep in the bass, of the skeleton of the repeated chords from the opening theme. Similar other-worldly hallucinations reappear in the coda (10:43), as does the high A flat heard near the opening (11:11)—but here the music is held hostage by the tonic pedal point in the bass which allows no further argument and presides over the gentle but tragic extinction of the movement.

The Adagio [6] is in duple meter (2/4), which makes this the only one of the last 6 sonatas whose slow movement is not in 3/4 or 3/8—perhaps because it is also the only one whose opening movement is in triple meter (3/4). The theme is affectionate, yet somewhat shy; each time the harmonies become exotically colourful (0:45), it seems to blush and pause, as though trying to hide. This succeeds the first time the theme is heard, where it reverts to the tonic as though it had done nothing amiss. But on its two subsequent appearances, the attempt to regain its composure backfires and leads it into ever more compromising harmonic territory—especially in the coda (5:51), where it ends up in A Major, a half-step too high, just a few bars before the end (6:58)! Winningly and without a fuss, it simply descends a half-step, as though it had strayed unintentionally from the beaten track, and closes the movement with dignity and simplicity.

The material separating the three incarnations of the Adagio’s main theme is highly contrasting, starting with a poignant but still restrained plaint (1:27), which soon becomes threatening, as the accompaniment’s pace is quickened to insistent, bleating triplets (2:05). Just as in the Adagio of Beethoven’s famous C minor Sonata, the “Pathétique,” these triplets are adopted (and pacified) to form the accompaniment for the return of the main theme (2:52). In the second episode (4:19), however, they are hammered out in tormented octaves, first in the right hand, then the left, and retreat only after a number of agonized cries.

There is very little relief in the whole sonata from the minor mode, not even in the Adagio. The Menuetto [7] also starts in the tonic minor, its mood rather somber and introverted, only to immediately come about into E flat Major and a more friendly atmosphere. The second half (0:27) teases back and forth between the modes in typically Schubertian fashion, with the main theme hinted at in the bass, before settling, secretively, in minor. The Trio (1:33), as usual, is a gentle ländler, whose second half presages the bitter-sweet homeliness of some of Mahler’s tunes.

The final Allegro [8] is propelled by an ostinato tarantella rhythm, which only pauses momentarily at a few significant junctions. At first it could be mistaken for a relatively innocuous, dancing perpetuum mobile, but the sudden accents, the unpredictable shifts in register and the threatening modulations quickly define its highly agitated nature, so by the time the main theme returns in pp we are breathless from its relentless, haunting determination. The restatement of the main theme (0:44) quite astounds us by being in major and leading to a fanfare in D flat Major (1:03), just a half-step above the tonic.

After the briefest of pauses the tonality darkens enharmonically to C# minor (1:18), and the motion resumes, even more tense than before. In a gesture more typical of Beethoven than Schubert, the essentially non-thematic final descending leap of the previous section is turned into the main theme of the next, which, without ever flinching, probes the various possibilities of combining this blunt descending 5th motive with a new, hushed descending chromatic scale, all under the spell of the non-stop tarantella rhythm. Propelled by repeated chords, and with hands flying back and forth over each other, the emotions shift rapidly back and forth, from the nearly pompous elation of the dance and the shivering “Angst” revealed by the chromatic scales, to the surging ecstasy of the upward modulatory sequences.

When all this passion finally dies down, another spectacular enharmonic transformation (E flat turns into D#) wrenches us in the opposite direction, both harmonically and in terms of character. Whereas we had previously explored D flat Major, a half-step above the tonic, we now dip exactly a half-step below it, and are favoured with one of Schubert’s more heavenly melodies (3:01). If anatomical analysis is needed, this spot is best categorized as the start of the development section in sonata form, piece being hard to view as a rondo, inasmuch as its main theme only makes 2 1/2 brief appearances. On the other hand, the autonomy of the various sections and the full stops (brief as they are) between them are unusual in sonata form—so the movement looks like sonata form but sounds and feels like a rondo!

As the new theme commences, the tarantella rhythm subsides to an accompanying murmur, leaving the sweetness of the theme to radiate its tender message effortlessly. But the rhythm soon revive

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