Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
A River Landscape by Jean-Pierre François Lamorinière (1828-1911)
Fine Art Photographic Library
Track(s) taken from CDA67091/2
Recording details: September 1995
Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Erik Smith
Engineered by Ken Blair
Release date: May 1996
Total duration: 29 minutes 50 seconds

'On these two CDs you hear two hours and 20 minutes of the most wonderful piano music anyone has ever written. A great deal of it is played with almost ideal intelligence and power' (Classic CD)

'Una interpretación a nivel altísimo. Muy ben sonido' (CD Compact, Spain)

Moments musicaux, D780 Op 94
1828; originally titled Momens musicals

C major  [6'33]
A flat major  [7'02]
F minor  [1'35]
C sharp minor  [4'00]
F minor  [1'21]
A flat major  [9'19]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
While the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy was hardly written with amateur performance in mind, Schubert’s series of shorter piano pieces, most of them composed towards the end of his life, certainly were. The six Moments musicaux were written at various times between 1823 and 1828. The earliest of them – and ever since, one of Schubert’s most popular piano pieces – is No 3, which first appeared, described as an ‘Air russe’, in an album of Christmas and New Year music issued in December 1823. Besides Schubert’s piece, the album included a new cavatina by Rossini, a cotillon by Count Gallenberg (the husband of Countess Guicciardi, to whom Beethoven dedicated his ‘Moonlight’ Sonata), and a Plaisanterie sur des Thèmes originaux espagnols by one Auguste Louis.

The success of this album prompted the publishers to issue a second collection the following year. This time, the purchaser was regaled with vignettes of scenes from Weber’s Der Freischütz, as well as two further contributions from Schubert: the song Die Erscheinung (later known under the title of Erinnerung), which had been composed as early as July 1815, and a new piano piece called Les Plaintes d’un Troubadour. The latter, a simple Allegretto with trio, replete with characteristically Schubertian enharmonic changes, eventually became No 6 of the Moments musicaux. The fanciful title under which it first appeared was, needless to say, simply a publisher’s sales pitch.

The remaining four of Schubert’s pieces were probably composed in the autumn of 1827. The complete collection was issued the following year, in two volumes each bearing a title page describing the contents, in pidgin-French, as Momens musicals. The pieces Schubert added in 1827 are generally more complex and more emotionally ambiguous than the two he had previously composed. The ‘yodelling’ theme of the opening C major piece eventually gives way to a smoother, more lyrical middle section; but both are tinged with Schubert’s characteristic swings between major and minor. No 2 alternates its gentle opening theme with a melancholy barcarolle, each being subtly varied on subsequent reappearances. The stark two-part texture of the outer sections in the C sharp minor fourth piece stands in strong contrast to the lilting dance-like middle section in the major. This gently syncopated middle section is played pianissimo almost throughout, though Schubert nevertheless manages to incorporate a reminiscence of it in the coda in the form of a haunting echo, as if a tiny snatch of the dance were being heard through closed doors.

No 5 is the only genuinely quick piece in the collection; and with its awkward leaps for the two hands in opposite directions, perhaps also technically the most demanding of them. Its driving dactylic rhythm scarcely lets up for an instant, and there is no room this time for a consolatory middle section. The abrupt style of this penultimate piece stands in the strongest possible contrast to the yearning expressiveness of the concluding minuet and trio.

from notes by Misha Donat © 1996

Other albums featuring this work
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt' (APR5574)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5574  Download only  
'Harold Bauer – The complete recordings' (APR7302)
Harold Bauer – The complete recordings
MP3 £13.99FLAC £13.99ALAC £13.99 APR7302  Download only  
'Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings' (APR7503)
Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7503  Download only  
'Paderewski – His final recordings' (APR5636)
Paderewski – His final recordings
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5636  Download only  
   English   Français   Deutsch