Recorded on 10/11/2005, uploaded on 01/08/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Allegro moderato; Andante; Allegro
A Major Sonata was originally thought to have been composed in 1825, but now it
is clear that Schubert composed the work in 1819 at the same time as his
"Trout" Quintet. Schubert wrote the
sonata for Josephine von Koller, someone that the composer noted as being "very
pretty"-a characteristic shared by this lovely piece. Like the "Trout" Quintet, the work is song-like with the lyrical
first movement, the plaintive Andante, and the charming and joyous finale. Angela Jia Kim
Franz Schubert composed the Piano Sonata in A major, known
as the "Little" A major, during the summer of 1819 which he spent in the
Austrian countryside. Its nickname is used to distinguish it from the much
larger A major Sonata composed nearly a decade later in 1828. Schubert
dedicated the "Little" A major Sonata to Josephine von Koller whom he thought
"very pretty" and a "good pianist."
Chief among the features of the "Little" A Major Sonata is its
apparent effortless demeanor. Unlike some of Schubert's other sonatas, the
"Little" Sonata makes no awkward technical demands of the performer.
Furthermore, it shows Schubert, at last, championing the sonata form, which he
struggled to master in his early works.
The first movement begins with a charming melody of
Schubertian lyricism. This melody then passes almost seamlessly into the
movement's second theme. Interestingly, the second theme pays a subtle rhythmic
homage to the famous Allegretto of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony—one of
many such references made by Schubert to his great idol. The development
concerns itself with material taken from both themes. However, as both themes
are cut from the same lyrical cloth, the usual sonata dichotomy melds into a
graceful whole. The recapitulation presents few changes from the exposition and
brief coda based on the first theme closes the movement.
The middle Andante begins with a homophonic texture
and a rhythmic figure that permeates the rest of the movement. Even once the
music breaks free of the restraining chordal texture, the ensuing melody
embraces even more the prevailing rhythm. The Finale is a joyful and energetic
movement in 6/8 meter. Forzando chords and chromaticism give it a jocular
character. The movement closes with a brief lyrical restatement of the Finale's
opening melody. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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