The Allegro in A minor, D947 and the Rondo in A major, D951 were written in May and June 1828 respectively, and may well have been intended to form a two-movement sonata along the lines of Beethoven’s E minor Sonata Op 90. Schubert’s rondo is lovingly modelled on the lyrical finale of Beethoven’s sonata: his theme follows a similar harmonic pattern, and even the keyboard layout of its opening bars, with the melody’s initial phrase followed by a more assertive answer in octaves, echoes Beethoven’s. Schubert mirrors Beethoven’s procedure, too, by transferring the final reprise of the rondo theme to the sonorous tenor register, with a continuous pattern of semiquavers unfolding above it. But Schubert’s piece is far from a slavish imitation, and it can more than hold its own against Beethoven’s. Particularly beautiful is the manner in which one of the important subsidiary themes returns towards the end, surmounted by a shimmering pianissimo accompaniment in repeated chords from the primo player. The A major Rondo was published in December 1828, less than a month after Schubert died.
from notes by Misha Donat © 2010