Movement 1: Allegro giusto
Movement 2: Andante
Movement 3: Allegro vivace
The second movement is strangely unsettling for three reasons: because of the almost enforced normality of its theme after the bittersweet bleakness of the first movement; because this theme is doubled in the tenor voice, a claustrophobic companion seeming to drag it down; and because of the constant, murmuring interjections (ppp) between the theme’s statements. The helter-skelter finale introduces a note of panic, as triplets trip over themselves in their scurrying counterpoint. Here, as in the first movement, the glorious second subject, in the major, seems unsure whether to laugh or cry, calling to mind Rückert’s poem Lachen und Weinen which Schubert set the same year.
Beauty captivates the flesh in order to obtain permission to pass right to the soul. Beauty is a fruit which we look at without trying to seize it. (Simone Weil)
from notes by Stephen Hough © 1998