Movement 1: Andante
Movement 2: Allegro con brio
If the Op 20 Sonata was Vorísek’s ‘quasi una Fantasia’, then his Op 12 Fantasia is his ‘quasi una Sonata’. The first movement combines rhetoric, Beethovenian allusions, and Baroque polyphony (the ‘learned’/connoisseur style) with a strain of arabesque (the ‘modern’/popular) reminiscent of Weber. The virtual omission of the first subject in the reprise, and the absence of a coda, will be noted.
In the style of Hummel’s Op 18 Fantasy (1811), the Allegro (triplet-dominated and pianistically challenging) is interesting for how its initial subject – incorporating changes in mode (from major to minor), metre (from 3/4 to 4/4), figuration and tempo – is an exact metamorphosis, anticipating Liszt, of the corresponding idea of the first movement: an inventively organic cyclic feature shared later by the development section boldly opening, like that of the first, with a chord of the diminished seventh. The lyrical component of the second subject group (characterized otherwise by rapid runs, hand-crossings and passages of broken tenths) originates from Beethoven – the first movements of the First and Third Concertos. In the published text (but not the manuscript, where its inclusion on a separate page at the end shows it to have been an afterthought), it is used to generate contrast and relief in both the development and (modified) recapitulation.
In one of his notebooks (No 18, Prague/Vienna c1812-15), Vorísek listed the emotional characteristics keys were supposed to have. C major, he sensed, was ‘bright, cheerful, pure’. C minor, by contrast, he believed to be symbolic of ‘profound lamentation’.
from notes by Ates Orga © 1998