Fantasie in F minor D.940

Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
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Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)

Performance date: 28/06/2014

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1828

Duration: 00:18:39

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Instrumentation Other: 2pf

Artists: Philippe Cassard - [piano]
Cédric Pescia - [piano]

This Fantasie was written in
January 1828 and is dedicated to Karoline Esterhazy, which has led to
speculation over a possible romance, particularly when the delectable slow
movement is taken into account.  It is
regarded by many as one of Schubert’s greatest creations for the piano and is
the last of four such duet works. It is a full-scale sonata in four linked
movements: Allegro molto moderato – Largo
– Scherzo – Allegro vivace
The haunting main theme of the first movement, one of Schubert’s most
glorious creations, is an early example of cyclical writing which was to be
much developed by 19th century romantic composers.

The opening movement begins straight away with the ardent, melancholic
main theme. A stronger counter-melody appears as second subject with emphatic
chording and the music swings between the peaceful and stormy moods of these
themes. The movement sinks in deep contemplation until the second theme shakes
it awake again and, after a short pause, leads straight into the lovely slow
movement. Its melody has all the grace of an operatic aria, complete with
Italianate decoration. Some writers feel this is a declaration of love for the
dedicatee, others suggest it may relate to the admiration the composer felt for
Paganini whom he had just heard playing and claimed he could detect angels
singing in his music. Whatever its intention it is both charming and witty,
with a strong central sequence similar to the thunderous second subject of the
first movement.

Again a sudden pause and the Scherzo theme bursts in with all the vigour
of Beethoven; it is in three-part form. Another dramatic pause and the haunting
opening theme of the first movement returns to launch the Finale. This leads to
a fugue, unusual in Schubert’s writing, although it is not a strict fugue,
Schubert was never too keen on formality, but it provides some thrilling
moments as its counterpoint builds to a splendid crescendo. Then the opening
theme returns for a heart-rending farewell appearance.