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Thread: Schubert: Drei Klavierstücke D 946

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    Default Schubert: Drei Klavierstücke D 946

    Edited posthumously in 1868 by Johannes Brahms, the "Three late piano pieces" D 946 were composed by Franz Schubert in 1828 - 6 months before his death - during the same period as other masterpieces such as the Mass in E flat major (D 950), the Symphony in C Major (the Great, D 944) and of course Schubert's artistic testament: the last three piano sonatas (D 958-960).

    However, in addition of a modest title, those "Three late piano pieces" do not seem to be given the same favours than the aforementioned late Schubert's pieces. I find it hard to find interprets playing them regularly, either the three of them or individually. Maybe because they have to be considered as an unfinished cycle of impromptus, thus condemned to remain in the complete ones' shadow?

    I find each of them musically as interesting as other impromptus, and at least as colourful. I am currently working on the 2nd piece Allegretto in E flat major: a Sturm und Drang concentrate, beautiful modulations...

    What is your opinion about this cycle of pieces? Anyone has ever worked on them?


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    Senior Member DiesIraeCX's Avatar
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    I love D. 946, I find myself returning to them often, especially #1 in E Minor. I love the playful way it begins and its consequent shifts in mood. I like Brendel and Pollini in the Klavierstücke and Impromptus (and sonatas, for the matter, along with Perahia). I view them as impromptus, alongside D. 935 and D. 899.
    "No composer has been more innovative than Beethoven, he radically changed the nature and character of the music composed in the two centuries that followed his earliest works" - Charles Rosen ("The Classical Style")

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    For me the second one is a favourite.

    Were they really intended to be part of a larger collection? Are they really cyclical? Why did he call them stüke rather than impromptus?

    Over the past few years we've had a lot of really fabulous performances of these pieces on modern pianos, I'm thinking of Wirssaladze, Sokolov, Ranki, Kocsis. And old fashioned pianists were not unimaginative with them either: the live Kempff on BBC legends is memorable as is Richter on Melodyia (better there than in Hungary), and Arrau (best on EMI I think) Shame that Sofronitsky and Yudina didn't play them.

    I've never heard them on an authentic piano, I'm not sure if anyone's recorded them, that will be revealing I think.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-02-2017 at 08:52.

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    Thanks Mandryka for your suggestions! I was using Brendel and Pollini versions as a reference until now. Sokolov indeed does a great job with the pieces, he has the right tempo in my opinion. I have just listened to extracts on Youtube. Thanks for suggesting Arrau too, I forgot his Schubert recording for EMI, and that is another great interpretation.

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