Recorded on 08/29/2009, uploaded on 08/29/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Schubert's Fantasy in C major, better known as the
"Wanderer" Fantasy, is one of his most well-known and technically challenging
compositions for piano. It was composed in November 1822, the same year he
began work on the "Unfinished" Symphony. Cast in a four movement pattern
mimicking the usual arrangement of a sonata, the movement are played without
break between them. The motivic germ of the piece, from which the themes of
each movement are derived, is taken from Schubert's own 1816 Lied Der
Wanderer. Hence, the Fantasy's nickname.
The opening Allegro is almost obsessively concerned
with motif's dactylic rhythm, a favorite of Schubert's. Schubert traverses a
wide range of keys in his treatment of the motif's rhythm as it is continuously
set against sweeping scales and sixteenth-note figurations. Only a melodic
interlude towards the end of the movement manages to draw attention partially
away from the obsessive rhythm.
Following the fanfare-like opening movement, the Adagio is a set of variations on an almost direct quote of Der Wanderer. Beginning the foreign key of C-sharp minor, the variations waver between it and
its parallel major. The motif is here extensively developed as the variations
become more rhythmically active. The bass rumblings of the final variation form
the transition into the ensuing Scherzo.
Taking on a frenetic character, the Scherzo borrows much of
its material from the first movement. In this regard, it has often been thought
analogous to the Scherzo of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29. The coda takes on
an improvisatory nature, introducing triplet arpeggios over the Scherzo's
dominant rhythmic motif. A sudden stop on a half cadence in C major announces
the arrival of the Finale.
The Finale begins as a fugue based around the Fantasy's
rhythmic motif. While the fugal texture is more or less maintained throughout,
the movement soon, however, dissolves into a virtuoso showpiece. The tonic key
of C major is virtually maintained throughout the whole movement and the
dactylic motif is also ever to the fore. A gradual crescendo of broken chords
and thunderous descending arpeggios bring the "Wanderer" Fantasy to a dramatic
close. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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