There are many fragments which were given the optimistic title of ‘sonata’ by Schubert. Abandoned in mid-flight, they range from virtually complete movements to mere sketches. Some of them were obviously put to one side because they lacked inspiration; others, perhaps, because they had wandered far into a strange forest and the composer felt unable or unwilling to rescue them. The Sonata in C major, D613 (1818), is an example of this latter type. Two movements survive, each peters out upon the approach of the recapitulation, and the music possesses a combination of eccentricity, charm, awkwardness, and originality which is endearing. Hummel (the original dedicatee of the B flat Sonata) is a clear influence in some of the passagework in both movements; but where the elder composer effortlessly spins yards of smooth yarn, Schubert becomes entangled in wildly spooling figuration in some of the most ungrateful writing ever conceived for the instrument. Whose hands could find bars 113–116 in the second movement anything other than like riding a one-wheel bicycle on a skating rink? Some have courageously chosen to complete these fragments, which is a fascinating undertaking; but on this recording I present them exactly as they were left by Schubert—an apt metaphor perhaps for the composer’s unfinished life.
from notes by Stephen Hough © 1998