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Piano Sonata in A major, D664

composer
Op posth. 120

 
'To hear and see his piano compositions played by himself was a real pleasure', recalled Schubert’s friend Albert Stadler many years after the composer’s death. After a performance of the slow movement from his expansive A minor Sonata D845 Schubert himself reported, 'Several people assured me that under my hands the keys became singing voices …' His cantabile playing style, suggested here, provides a clue to the essence of Schubert’s piano writing in which (with some obvious exceptions) a long-spun melody unfolds above a smooth rippling accompaniment. Despite his incomparable lyrical gifts and poetic sensitivity, Schubert’s sonatas have never achieved the same stature as Beethoven’s, yet for sheer accessibility there can be no better introduction to these works than this captivating Sonata in A major.

Composed when he was twenty-two, D664 marks the threshold of his final years and anticipates the transcendent works of his maturity. It was conceived amid the idyllic surroundings of the Alpine resort of Steyr in Upper Austria in July 1819 while the composer was on a walking tour with the baritone Michel Vogl. That the holiday had a reviving effect on Schubert is clear from the completion, the same summer, of his 'Trout' Quintet, one of his most overtly cheerful works. There’s little doubt of Schubert’s carefree vigour in this sonata’s blithe opening movement and its song-like main theme seems to breathe fresh mountain air, its serenity only briefly broken in the vigorous scales that animate the central development. A gentle melancholy unfolds in the harmonically ambiguous Andante (nominally in D major), notable for its persistent rhythmic scheme and a magical key change to G major. Wistfulness is swept aside in the trouble-free Allegro, bringing this finely crafted work to an emphatic close.

from notes by David Truslove © 2020

Recordings

Schubert: A Schubert Journey
Studio Master: SIGCD645Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Schubert: Piano Music, Vol. 6
Studio Master: SIGCD836Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Movement 1: Allegro moderato
Track 5 on SIGCD645 CD6 [7'47] Download only
Track 5 on SIGCD836 [7'47] Download only
Movement 2: Andante
Track 6 on SIGCD645 CD6 [5'19] Download only
Track 6 on SIGCD836 [5'19] Download only
Movement 3: Allegro
Track 7 on SIGCD645 CD6 [7'15] Download only
Track 7 on SIGCD836 [7'15] Download only

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