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Schubertiade, Part II

The title refers to a type of “home-made” music making that became popular during Schubert's time, chamber music. This week we continue to hear chamber music compositions by one of the foremost composers and namesake of this intimate genre, Franz Schubert himself!



Program 1

Born in Vienna in 1787, Schubert died only 31 years later in 1828. He wrote an enormous amount of music, but this show focuses on his chamber and piano music which was intended to be performed in one's home.

Schubert was born in an exciting place at an interesting time. In 1787, several well-known composers were living and working in Vienna. Beethoven was 26, Haydn was 65 and Mozart had died just six years previously. Vienna also faced tumult largely due to Napolean's invasion.

Der Wanderer, written by Schubert at age 19, is a lied. A lied (which literally means song) is often used to describe art songs. These were especially popular with Schubert. The next piece, Fantasy in C Major, is based on Der Wanderer, but intended to be played in a concert hall rather than a home. It was written six years later and was well-loved by Franz Liszt.


Schubert: Hungarian Melody in b minor, D. 817
Brendel, p.
Phi 422229

Schubert: Sonata in D Major, D. 384
Shaham, v.; Söllscher, g.
DG 471568

Schubert: “Der Wanderer” D. 489/493
Maltman, bar.; Johnson, p.
Hyp 33032

Schubert: Fantasy in C Major, D. 760, Wanderer
Brendel, p.
Vox 3041

Schubert: Sonatina for Violin and Piano in a minor, D. 385-Allegro
Stoltzman, cl.; Goode, p.
RCA 6772

Schubert: Sonata for Piano in a minor, D. 537 (excerpt)
Haefliger, p.
Avie 47


Program 2

Today's program comes from offhand comment by Garrick Olsen where he referred to Schubert as "a little meshuggah" when he writes in the key of a minor. Mesuggah is a Yiddish word meaning mixed together, mixed up or even a little bit nuts.

Three of Schubert's 15 sonatas were written in the key of a minor, and we listen to the first movement of all three sonatas. The earliest was written in 1817 when Schubert was 20 years old.




Schubert: Sonata for Piano in a minor, D. 537, I + excerpts
Haefliger, p.
Avie 47
8:25, :53, :30

Schubert: Sonata for Piano in a minor, D. 845, I
Goode, p.
None 79271

Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in a minor (excerpt)
Lon 414674

Schubert: Sonata for Piano in a minor, D. 784
Pires, p.
DG 427769

Schubert: “Unser Alles Grosspapa”
London Schubert Chorale/Layton
Hyp 33032

Schubert: Ländler No. 1 in E-flat and Länder No. 2 in Aflat, D. 814
Eschenbach & Franz, pnos.
EMI 69770


Program 3

Schubert's piece Hungarian Melody in b minor was written in 1824 but not published until 1928. This was the case for a lot of Schubert's work. Much of it sat in piles and then was discovered many years later. This piece's publishing is thanks to the dramatist Stefan Zweig.

Why did Schubert write a Hungarian melody, escpecially since he didn't much care to leave Vienna? This is due to a teaching job offered by the Hungarian Count Johann Karl Esterhazt von Galanta. The Esterhazy family was also Haydn's employers for almost 40 years.

It is hard to know Schubert's personal life from his diary and accounts of friends, so Bill examines his music for clues. We listen to several pieces Schubert wrote based on the poems of Wilhelm Muller. These are about a young man who falls in love at first site and then experieces the loss of love and the collapse of the world.


Schubert: Hungarian Melody in b minor, D. 817
Brendel, p.
Phi 422229

Schubert: “Der Lindenbaum”,“Frühlingstraum”, “Die Post” & “Der Leiermann” fr. Winterreise,D. 911
Quasthoff, bar.; Spencer, p.
RCA 63147

Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in Bflat Major, D. 485
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Abbado
DG 423651


Program 4

We begin with the Fantasie in C Major, written in December 1827, less than a year before Schubert died. This piece was written on commission for violinist Josef Slawik. The premiere was given in January 1888 and critical opinion was divided.

Bill's favorite "orphan" piece of Schubert's is performed by the Beaux Arts Trio. This is the Adagio in E-flat Major which is nicknamed Notturno. It could have been originally intended to have been included in one of Schubert's other piano trios, or, because Schubert died less than a year after writing it, he may never have had the time to write the additional movements. It was published posthumously.

Next we hear part of Schubert's final cycle, Schwanengesang (Swan Song). Performed here is Der Doppelganger and Die Taubenpost.

Schubert: Fantasie in C Major, D. 934
Kremer, v.; Afanassiev, p.
DG 431654

Schubert: Klavierstücke No. 1 in E-flat minor, D. 946
Schiff, p.
Lon 425638

Schubert: Adagio in E-flat Major, D. 897, Notturno
Beaux Arts Trio
Phi 412620

Schubert: “Der Doppelganger” & “Die Taubenpost” fr. Schwanengesang, D. 965
Hagegård, bar.; Ax, p.
RCA 5476


Program 5

Schubert's final string quartet, String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, dominates the majority of today's program. There are marvelous shifts in key and the piece closes with two wild movements, a scherzo and a tarantella.

Finishing the program is the Sonatina in a minor written by Schubert at age 19 for his brother Ferdinand.

Schubert: “Der Geistertanz”, D. 494
London Schubert Chorale/Layton
Hyp 33032

Schubert: String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D. 887
Emerson String Quartet
DG 459151
27:20, 17:20

Schubert: “Ständchen” fr. Schwanengesang, D. 957
Hagegård, bar.; Ax, p.
RCA 5476

Schubert: Sonatina in a minor, D. 385, I
Stoltzman, cl.; Goode, p.
RCA 6772



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