Friday, 23 January 2009

237. Franz Schubert - Arpeggione Sonata (1824)


Title: Arpeggione Sonata
Performers: Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexandre Tharaud
Year: 2005
Length: 24 minutes


Here's one I didn't know. And now I know, and I'm happier for knowing, because frankly it is one of the most achingly beautiful pieces by Schubert. All you need to hear is the first 10 seconds of the piece to be completely hooked.

If Death and the Maiden is rage, this is bitter-sweetness in its full glory. The first movement is really something else, but it does not flag through the next two movements, the second is beautiful and slightly dark towards the end and the third is a perfectly peaceful finale.

Interestingly the piece is composed for piano and Arpeggione, an instrument which has completely fallen into disuse, being, therefore substituted for the Cello. This is also the only piece for the Arpeggione in existence. Fascinating.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

By the time the sonata was published posthumously in 1871, the enthusiasm for the novelty of the arpeggione had long vanished, together with the instrument itself. Today, the piece is heard almost exclusively in transcriptions for cello and piano or viola and piano that were arranged after that time, although versions that substitute other instruments, including the double bass, the flute, and the clarinet, or the guitar for the piano part are also performed. Transcribers have attempted to address the problems posed by the smaller playing range of these alternative instruments, in comparison with the arpeggione, as well as the attendant modifications in articulation (4 versus 6 strings).

First Movement:

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