The single-movement ‘Sonate’ (Schubert’s designation) was the fifteen-year-old composer’s immediate reaction to losing his treble voice, and with it his place in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel Choir. On 26 July 1812 he wrote in a score of a mass he had just sung: ‘Schubert, Franz, crowed for the last time’. And the following day he consoled himself by trying his hand at a trio movement in B flat, which he may originally have intended as the first movement of a larger work. Schubert had just begun studies with Antonio Salieri; and this B flat trio movement is one of several works from this time written in frank imitation of classical models. Mozart, rather than the more rigorously argumentative Haydn or Beethoven, is the obvious influence, though from the lyrical violin/cello duet near the start the cello plays a more emancipated role than in Mozart’s trios. The exposition, as in so many early Schubert works, is amiably discursive, while the brief and inconsequential development is elided with the recapitulation – a procedure that Schubert was to put to inspired use fifteen years later in the first movement of the great B flat Trio.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2001