Thursday, 26 March 2009

251. Franz Schubert - Fantasy in F minor for Piano Duet, D940 (1828)


Title: Mozart: Sonata for 2 pianos in D Major, k.448, Schubert: Fantasy for Piano 4 Hands in f minor, D. 940
Performers: Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu
Year: 1984
Length: 19 minutes


Another short piece by Schubert, who is now very near the end of his life. Schubert composed an immense amount of piano duets and these vary greatly in terms of quality, but this one is generally recognised as one of his best works for the genre.

It is a great work, in a single movement of 19 minutes, almost like a suite, Schubert travels the gamut of variations for the themes he selected for the fantasy. It starts very slow and builds up from there before eventually dwindling back down to the beginning theme.

This use of a single movement permits Schubert to make the work much more consistent throughout as a unified whole. This is something that he has been doing even in his multi-movement pieces and which is to me one of the great developments by Schubert, the notion of cohesion between several elements of a work. This is something that Beethoven had already done but which Schubert develops with great success.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Schubert began writing the Fantasia in January 1828 in Vienna. The work was completed in March of that year, and first performed in May. Schubert's friend Eduard von Bauernfeld recorded in his diary on May 9 that a memorable duet was played, by Schubert and Franz Lachner. The work was dedicated to Karoline Esterházy, with whom Schubert was in (unrequited) love.

Schubert passed away in November 1828. After his death, his friends and family undertook to have a number of his works published. This work is one of those pieces; it was published by Anton Diabelli in March 1829. The original manuscript resides at the Austrian National Library.

Maria Joao Pires and Ricardo Castro play the Fantasy (excerpt):

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