Thursday, 2 April 2009

257. Franz Schubert - Piano Sonata in B flat, D960 (1828)


Title: Mitsuko Uchida plays Schubert
Performers: Mitsuko Uchida
Year: 2004
Length: 45 minutes


So we come to the end of the very strong Schubert presence on this list. One of the greatest composers of the beginning of the romantic era, one of the most honest depicters of emotion in musical history. Never maudlin or exaggerated, he managed to bring just the right amount of mood to his works.

This last piano sonata, one of the last things he composed before his death is a perfect example of this. The very long first movement is a slow one, but peppered with mood shifts, the work is not, however, without its lighter moments.

The last two movements have a kind of bittersweet happiness to them which is quite endearing. It is a great pity that, like so many great composers, Schubert died so early. His style is constantly sharpening itself, even now, in the end. We can only imagine what he would have gone on to do. Oh well.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Schubert's last sonatas mark a distinct change of compositional style from his earlier piano sonatas, with several important differences. The typical movement length has increased, due to the use of long, lyrical, fully rounded-off, ternary-form themes, the insertion of development-like passages within expositions, and the lengthening of the development section proper. Texturally, the orchestral grandeur of the middle-period sonatas gives way to a more intimate writing that resembles a string ensemble. New textures appear in the last sonatas – scale-like melodic elements, free counterpoint, free fantasia, and simple accompanimental patterns such as Alberti bass, repeated chords, and ostinati; the orchestral unison texture, abundant in the preceding sonatas, has disappeared. The harmonic language has also changed: more distant key relationships are explored, longer modulatory excursions, more major/minor shifts of mode, and more chromatic and diverse harmonic progressions and modulations, using elements such as the diminished seventh chord. In general, the last sonatas seem to enact a return to an earlier, more individual and intimate Schubertian style, here combined with the compositional craftsmanship of Schubert's later works.

Brendel plays the sonata:

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