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The Classical sonata.

Although the music of the sons of Bach is among the earliest to benefit from
sympathetic performance on the fortepiano, it is doubtful that any of them ever enjoyed the
opportunity of performing on instruments as reliable as those praised by Mozart when he
visited Steins workshop in !!!" #ven more than the singing tone, the composer was
impressed by the regularity and evenness of the action, with its deceptively simple
escapement" $hough eventually rendered obsolete by the steadily increasing size of concert
halls throughout the %th century, Steins design was both perfectly engineered on its own
terms and perfectly suited to the world that Mozart was about to enter" After e&claiming that
k'()*'+,b -with its surprisingly lengthy set of variations as a finale. /sounds e&0uisite on
Steins instrument, Mozart 1 further stimulated by the Mannheim style with its emphasis on
contrast 1 set down in the ne&t several weeks two sonatas -k2+%*'()b and 2*'()c. more
dramatically e&pansive and brilliant than any of the half3dozen surviving e&amples composed
previously" $hese were succeeded the following summer by the first of his two sonatas in the
minor mode, k2+*2++d, a work of remarkable intensity and tautness" 4n the space of a few
years, and in direct response to developments in instrument design, Mozart had succeeded in
transforming the easy3going three3movement form inherited from 5"6" Bach -whose sonatas
he had arranged as keyboard concertos at the age of nine. into a vehicle for considerable
display and elaborate working3out"
7ith his final break from the archbishop in May !( and the decision to take up
permanent residence in 8ienna, Mozart inaugurated a series of masterpieces for keyboard
dominated by ! remarkable concertos, in which virtuosity is blended with a superb sense of
operatic pacing" $hough fewer in number, the ten solo sonatas now known to have been
created after the move to 8ienna -portions of k22+12'*2++h, i, k may have been composed a
few months earlier. afford a unified view of the composers development" A few, such as the
/little keyboard sonata for beginners, k,),, were designed to fulfil pedagogic needs, but the
remainder encompass a broad spectrum of mature styles" $he group of four sonatas k22+1
22*2++h, i, k, 2,c -traditionally ascribed to Mozarts 9aris sojourn of !!(, but now known
to date from between !( and !(). demonstrate his sure handling of practically every
6lassical form: sonata, both with coda -k22' finale. and without -k222 first movement.;
theme and variations -k22 opening movement.; binary -k22 Menuetto and $rio.; ternary
-k22+ Andante.; rondo3type -k22 finale. and sonata3rondo -k222 finale." $he last3named of
these, with its tutti1solo opposition and elaborate cadenzas, offers a prime e&ample of cross3
fertilization with the concertos Mozart was composing during the same period" <is treatment
of all these forms is rarely perfunctory; the coda to the finale of k22' incorporates a buffa
theme presented in the e&position but slyly omitted from the recapitulation" $he Alla turca of
k22 adopts the thematic virtues of the straight rondo while employing an ingenious ABCBAB
scheme to skirt its inherent structural s0uareness" $he highly decorated version of the Adagio
of k22' published by Artaria in !() -and presumably originating with Mozart. shows that
improvised embellishment remained an integral component of his style; present3day
performers might do well to contemplate the gulf between their abilities and Mozarts before
undertaking their own decorations" $he two3piano sonata, k))(*2!,a, composed less than ten
months after his arrival in 8ienna on a commission from his talented pupil 5osepha von
Auernhammer, gravitates towards virtuoso display while displaying Mozarts intuitive
understanding of the /orchestral capabilities of two fortepianos; the syncopated chordal
responses in the opening Allegros closing group are particularly striking" $he composers
contact with the music of 5"S" Bach and <andel at the concerts of Baron =ottfried van
Swieten in !('12 resulted in a modest burst of contrapuntal works, including the underrated
9relude and >ugue in 6, k2%)*2(2a, written at the urging of 6onstanze 7eber"
Although Mozart soon tired of aping an archaic Baro0ue style, the effects on his own
music of his e&periences with Bach and <andel were profound and long3lasting" $he uni0ue
single3voiced opening of k,22 invokes the atmosphere of fugue, realized more fully in the
second group, as well as in the minor3mode episode of the ?ondo -published in !(( with the
two movements of k,22 though composed in !(@." $he opening movement of the Sonata in
A k,!@, perhaps Mozarts masterpiece in this genre, bristles with lean, athletic counterpoint;
it maintains the composers predilection for the open3ended half3cadence that moves to the
dominant in the e&position, while remaining in the tonic for the recapitulation -nearly half of
the 2, major3mode sonata movements in the keyboard sonatas use this /bifocal close." Baron
van Swietens advocacy of 6"9"#" Bach immediately stimulated two fantasias k2%@*2(,f and
2%!*2(,g, both remaining fragments, although the second, in A minor, is still a favourite" $he
>antasia in 6 minor k)!,, a work of great emotional scope, was published at the head of the
sonata in the same key, completed five months earlier" 4ts impact on Beethovens obsessive
bouts with 6 minor can scarcely be e&aggerated" A late >antasia in > minor k@+(, composed
in March !% for a mechanical organ but published as early as !%% for piano four3hands,
deserves more fre0uent hearings" Bet by far the most important development during this
period was Mozarts deepening relationship with <aydn, whom he probably first met in !("
Although <aydns musical influence is most readily traceable in Mozarts mature chamber
music, it is still felt in movements such as the monothematic opening Allegro of k,!+, or in
the bold choice of the lowered submediant as the secondary key of the Adagio of k,!@" $he
remarkable two3year period framed by the composition of Le nozze di Figaro and of Don
Giovanni saw Mozart add four jewels to the crown of his works for keyboard, including the
four3hand sonata k)%!, an un0ualified masterpiece; an inspired set of four3hand variations
k,+; the chromatically rich A minor ?ondo k, and an outstandingly e&pressive Adagio in
B minor k,)+" All this music was written for a five3octave instrument about which Mozart is
not known to have voiced reservations" 7hen the recapitulation of a sonata movement
threatened to e&ceed its compass, his imagination was fused by the limitation, resulting in
some of his most adroit touches, as in the opening movements of k222*2,c -e&",. or the
concerto k))%" $he concert instrument used by Mozart and built by Anton 7alter about !(+
included only two tone3modifying devices: a pair of knee3levers that raised either all the
dampers or only the treble ones -the presence of hand3stops as well for the dampers on the
original suggests Mozart may have re0uested the addition of knee3levers, perhaps taking his
cue from Steins instruments.; and a handstop over the middle of the keyboard that placed a
thin strip of cloth between the hammer and the strings, acting as a mute" 4n passages such as
the middle section of the Andante of k22+*2++h, this sourdine imparts an ethereal effect
fundamentally different from that achieved with the shift on a modern instrument" Both the
mute and the raising of the dampers were regarded in Mozarts time as special effects; his
celebrated remark that phrases should /flow like oil has often been construed as an
un0ualified endorsement of legato, inviting indiscriminate application of the modern damper
pedal" 4n practice, both the rapid tonal decay on the fortepiano and the articulative richness of
Mozarts scores preclude any uniform solutions" 4t is no condemnation of present3day
instruments that the carefully marked phrasing at the opening of k22'*2++k -e&"@. is almost
impossible to achieve naturally e&cept on a fortepiano"
<aydns reputation rested far less than Mozarts on his abilities as a keyboard
performer" <is longstanding positions as composer3in3residence to aristocratic patrons,
including three decades of service to the #sterhCzy family, filled his days with the closely
monitored composition of sacred, operatic, orchestral and chamber music, as well as with
supervising performances" 4t is all the more surprising that <aydn found the time to compose
over @+ multi3movement works for solo keyboard" >ewer than ,+ of these can be proved
authentic, and about a dozen more early harpsichord works were attributed to <aydn during
his lifetime" As fewer than a dozen autographs -some only fragments. of <aydns solo sonatas
survive, the severe problems of chronology and authenticity among works circulating in the
!,+s and @+s are likely to remain unresolved unless new evidence is discovered" Most of
these early pieces appear to have been teaching aids intended for the amateur, perhaps the
children of <aydns aristocratic patrons" 4t is unlikely that all, or even most, of them have
survived" #ntitled /divertimento or /partita, they typically consisted of three movements,
most often two fast outer ones encasing a minuet, though not infre0uently with the latter as a
finale" Apart from a few simple binary forms in works of 0uestionable authenticity -hD84:!1
%., virtually all the non3minuet movements present rudimentary sonata forms with modest
transitions and well3demarcated secondary groups" 6learly designated for harpsichord, they
e&ude the easy3going galant manner of ="6" 7agenseil without an obsessive reliance on the
broken3chord basses purportedly popularized by Aomenico Alberti" Significant increases in
technical demands, perhaps stimulated by Scarlatti, are registered in the group of sonatas that
includes hD84:),, % and )@, composed in the late !@+s" $he last movement of the Sonata in
A -no")@. foreshadows the irresistible buffa finales that <aydn was to perfect in the sonatas,
0uartets and symphonies of the !(+s and %+s" Beginning around !! with the first works
called /sonate -hD84:(, '+ and ))., <aydns unpretentious style is blended with
increasingly comple& emotional moods, easily traceable to the influence of 6"9"#" Bach" $he
single dynamic marking in the autograph fragment of the Sonata in 6 minor -no"'+. can still
be rendered on a two3manual harpsichord, but by the time Artaria published this landmark in
!(+ it included a wealth of additional dynamics -including a crescendo in the finale. that
demanded the new fle&ibility of the fortepiano" $he five other sonatas that appeared
simultaneously -hD84:2,1%. are the last <aydn approved /per il clavicembalo, o forte piano"
4t may have been more than a coincidence that the trio of sonatas published in !() by
Bossler -hD84:)+1)'., and calling specifically for fortepiano, were the first that <aydn
composed after the start of his friendship with Mozart" 4n !(( <aydn wrote to his publisher
Artaria that he had been compelled to purchase a new fortepiano in order to do justice to the
three piano trios hD8:12"
<aydns long life allowed him to continue to absorb and recast the most important
advances of 8iennese 6lassicism" $he sonatas of <aydns maturity are all the more
remarkable for the stylistic distance that their composer had traversed to create them" $he
obligatory da capo minuet of previous decades disappears almost entirely; when re0uired to
supply one about !(%, the composer responded in the Sonata in # -hD84:)%. with a large3
scale /$empo di minuet containing an elaborately rewritten repeat" A standard three3
movement, fast1slow1fast scheme avoids tedium by incorporating at least one movement not
in regular sonata form: the alternating major1minor variations -a favourite techni0ue. that
open hD84:2% and close no"2); the spacious binary form with rondo elements that concludes
hD84:,+; or the une&pected sonata3rondo that opens hD84:," But <aydn proved e0ually
drawn in this period to a two3movement grouping, providing Beethoven with a point of
departure for his subse0uent e&periments" $wo of the three two3movement sonatas that
appeared together in !() -in = and A. go so far as to abandon any references to sonata style"
4n the finale of no")+ <aydn took special delight in punctuating cadences with abrupt leaps of
three octaves -e&"!.; the fortepiano, with its clearly delineated registers, conveys the humour
of these gestures with particular effectiveness" $he pervasive imitation throughout the finale
of the Sonata in A may reflect <aydns encounters with 5"S" Bach at Baron van Swietens"
#0ually important is the surge of cantabile writing found in the slow movement of the Sonata
in # written in about !(% for Marianne von =enzinger, to whom <aydn e&tolled the virtues
of a fortepiano by 7enzel Schantz" 4n the freewheeling >antasia in 6 -hD844:)., published at
about the same time, <aydn instructs the performer at two points to hold the cadential octave
until the tone dies away; on a well3regulated modern grand the sound lingers for almost a
minute" Between his first and second Eondon sojourns, the composer penned an elaborate
keyboard farewell to the double variation -hD844:!., built on a pair of utterly non3
symmetrical themes that erupt during only the third variation into a rhapsodic coda" $hree
highly individual sonatas -nos",+1,'. composed during the ne&t year in Eondon provide a
fitting clima& to <aydns output in this medium" $he /open pedal demanded in the first
movement of no",+ marks the migration of the 8iennese knee3levers to a location on the
forward supporting legs of #nglish models where they could be depressed with the foot" $he
finale of the same work e&ploits the five3and3a3half3octave range of the newest #nglish
models; their fuller, weightier sound may be partly responsible for the symphonic grandeur
that permeates the opening movement of no",'" $hroughout his career <aydns approach to
sonata form was punctuated by surprise and e&periment, continually nourished by his
longstanding fascination with monothematicism" #ven more than in the music of Mozart,
<aydns fre0uent changes of te&ture and spiky rhythms depend upon the 0uick response and
rapid tonal decay of the early piano"
$he most remarkable aspect of Beethovens monumental 2' keyboard sonatas
-including three teaching pieces in the spirit of Mozarts k,),. is that they continue to e&pand
and refine a genre that seemed to have reached perfection in the music of <aydn and Mozart"
$hree early sonatas -7oF )!. published before the composer was 2 present rather stiff
imitations of 6"9"#" Bachs Sturm und Drang style" By the time he brought out his three op"'
sonatas in 8ienna in !%@, Beethoven had obviously made a thorough study of Mozart and
<aydn, in spite of his e&aggerated claim to have learnt nothing from his most celebrated
teacher" $he older mans influence is easily traceable in the conciseness and wit of the Sonata
in > op"+ no"' or in the humorous scherzos of op"' nos"' and 2 borrowed from <aydns
0uartets" But the most persistent strand up to op"'' is the loose, additive post36lassical
language already discernible in Mozarts late piano concertos" 8irtually every gambit in the
opening movement of Mozarts k)@! 1 the piano opening and subse0uent tutti e&plosion, the
bifocal close preceding a dramatic interjection of the minor dominant, the wealth of closing
ideas that confirm the major 1 appear in the first movement of op"' no"2, in the same key" $he
con gran espressione of op"! and the Eargo e mesto of op"+ no"2 invest Beethovens slow
movements with new dignity and pathos" Blatant sectionalism pervades the ?ondo finales of
opp"! and ''; here, as elsewhere, what separates Beethoven from the transitional generation
of 6lementi, Aussek, <ummel and 7eber is his unflagging reliance on the sonata principle"
By the !%+s the pressures on composers to abandon the symmetrical resolution of sonata
form were considerable" Muzio 6lementi, essentially a contemporary of Mozart who lived
well into the new century, played an important role in these developments" <is nearly si&
dozen keyboard sonatas published between !!% and (' take Mozart as their point of
departure -opp"!, % and + were published in 8ienna., with greater emphasis on virtuoso
techni0ues -such as the rapid parallel 2rds and octaves of op"' no"). and italianate melody,
especially in slow movements" After their contest before 5oseph 44 on 6hristmas #ve !(,
Mozart characterized 6lementi as a /mere mechanicus" $he substantial increase over the ne&t
decade in the scale of his works is not matched by a corresponding increase in the capacity of
thematic material to support the larger structures" 6lementis recapitulations fre0uently
e&hibit only a casual relationship to his e&positions, with minimal attention paid to resolving
long3range harmonic tension" $he virtues of his last and best3known sonata, op",+ no"2,
subtitled /Aidone abbandonata, remain those of lean, athletic te&tures and dramatic changes
of mood familiar from his earliest works" 6uriously, although he was closely tied to piano
manufacture from the !%+s, little of the increased capacity of the new si&3octave instruments
is reflected in 6lementis keyboard music, probably because most of it was composed by
(+,"
Between (! and ('@ 6lementi brought out a series of volumes under the title
Gradus ad arnassum, devoted to the attainment of a fluent techni0ue" Aebussy paid an
affectionate tribute to the popularity of these e&ercises in his /Aoctor =radus ad 9arnassum
from Children!s Corner" 6lementi was joined in these endeavours by two other distinguished
men, 6arl 6zerny and 5"B" 6ramer" 6zerny had studied as a youngster with Beethoven before
becoming a private instructor from the age of ,, numbering among his pupils $heodor
Gullak, $halberg, Stephen <eller and the young Eiszt" Although Eiszt fre0uently played
6zernys Sonata no" in A op"!, it was as an indefatigable pedagogue that 6zerny chose to
make his mark" 4n more than (++ works devoted largely to technical studies -the best known
being the "ollst#ndige theoretisch$praktische ianoforte$Schule op",++., 6zerny compiled
and codified the technical advances of the piano during a period of e&tremely rapid
development" 4f 6zernys methods were already beginning to show signs of age before his
death, he continued to command the respect and admiration of his peers" 6ramer, although an
essentially conservative force like 6zerny, was -according to ?ies. considered by Beethoven
to be the finest pianist of his day" <e is remembered chiefly today for two fine sets of )'
studies each, published in (+) and (+ and endorsed by Beethoven, Schumann and 6hopin"
>oreshadowings of at least a dozen composers from Beethoven and Schubert to Eiszt
and Brahms have been detected by proponents of the music of 5"E" Aussek" 4n terms of
pianistic figuration, there is no doubt that Aussek was a pioneer; formally he was much less
so, relying heavily on the rondo and other sectional schemes" Ho hard evidence remains to
show that Beethoven was familiar with his music, as can be demonstrated in the case of
6lementi" Hearly 2+ sonatas -several bearing programmatic titles. composed between !((
and (' bear witness to a highly eclectic style stimulated by Ausseks peripatetic career as a
travelling virtuoso" <is association with the firm of Broadwood contributed to an e&pansion
of the pianos range to si& octaves -CI1cIIII. as early as !%)" 5"H" <ummels ties to 8iennese
6lassicism were considerably stronger, for he had studied with Mozart as a child and returned
fre0uently to 8ienna" Jntil the ('+s <ummels fame nearly rivalled Beethovens" Apart
from an early sonata issued in Eondon, his five remaining works in this genre were published
in 8ienna between (+, and (',, including a near3masterpiece, the Sonata in > minor
op"(, which appeared just after Beethovens op"+@" $he e&position of its opening movement
arrives in A major after a generous interlude in 6 major, pointing up <ummels continued
loosening of high 6lassical structures, as well as his anticipation of Schumanns harmonic
palette -e&"(." Eike 6lementis and Ausseks, 7ebers career was marked by e&tensive
travels; unlike either, his principal field of activity was opera" 7hen, on e&amining the score
of Der Freisch%tz in ('2, Beethoven remarked that its composer /must write operas, nothing
but operas, he displayed a keen appreciation of 7ebers special gifts" $hroughout his four
sonatas -all but the third in four movements. the pacing is consistently operatic, aided by
directives such as con duolo, mormorando and consolante in no")" ?unning passage3work
over simple chordal accompaniments, as in the first movement of the Sonata in A , look
forward to such patterns in the works of 6hopin" >or his own part, 7eber remarked in (+
that Beethovens compositions after (++ were /a confused chaos, an unintelligible struggle
after novelty"
7eber was almost certainly referring to Beethovens resolve not to settle into the
structurally less demanding language of the proto3?omantics" 4n the highly e&perimental
sonatas of opp"'@1( it looked as if Beethoven might indeed pursue this path" $he A Sonata
dispenses altogether with straight sonata form" Both of the op"'! sonatas e&hibit novel
structures, and op"'( is noteworthy for its off3tonic beginning and third3related modulatory
scheme" $he conflicts in Beethovens style around (++ are drawn cleanly in op"'! no"' -the
/Moonlight., whose famous opening demands the intimacy of the drawing3room, while its
stormy and very public finale pushes the five3octave instrument inherited from Mozart right to
-though not beyond. its limits" Fp"2 no"2 was the last four3movement sonata until the inaptly
labelled /<ammerklavier -the generic term for the 8iennese piano after (,. of , years
later" 4n the autumn of (+' Beethoven wrote to the publisher Breitkopf K <Lrtel concerning
the /new manner of his two sets of variations, opp"2) and 2," 6ontinuing with the 7aldstein,
and even more emphatically with the /Appassionata, Beethoven recreated the taut, integrated
aesthetic of the high 6lassical period, though on a greatly intensified scale" 4t scarcely seems
an accident that this dramatic turnabout in Beethovens style paralleled e0ually dramatic
developments in the 8iennese piano" 7ithin si& years the instrument nearly doubled its
weight and more than trebled its string tension" $he menacing opening of op",!, plumbing the
lowest note on the keyboard, is unthinkable without the powerful yet clear bass of the new
si&3octave models" $he lush sweetness of these instruments is reflected in the two movements
of op"!(, Beethovens only work in > and a particular favourite of the composers" /Ees
Adieu&, op"(a, composed in the same year and key as the /#mperor 6oncerto, provided a
fitting close for the solo sonata to the /heroic decade" Both opp"%+ and + show a closer
affinity with the later styles of Schubert and Mendelssohn respectively, revealing a composer
once again at the crossroads" Much like op",! of a dozen years earlier, the monumental
Sonata in B op"+@ marked Beethovens final return to an e&panded vision of the high
6lassical style, spurred by another burst in the size and weight of 8iennese pianos" $he
fre0uent choice of non3dominant secondary areas in sonata movements after (! is
overshadowed by continually deepening levels of thematic integration, such as the relentless
chains of descending 2rds that saturate the first movement of op"+@ -e&"%." $he Adagio of
this remarkable work, placed after the Scherzo and in the remote key of > minor, is both the
longest and the most deeply felt among Beethovens slow movements" But it was the
composers renewed interest in fugue, first seen in the finales of op"+ and the cello sonata
op"+' no"', that dominated the late style" $he e0ually fugal yet diametrically opposed finales
of both opp"+@ and + demonstrate the e&tent to which Beethoven could impose his will
upon the intractable rules of counterpoint" 6losely allied with this absorption was the practice
of variation, culminating in the Arietta of op", whose transcendent blend of variation and
sonata inspired Gretschmars impassioned homage in $homas Manns Dr Faustus" 7hen
invited to contribute a variation on the publisher Aiabellis /Schusterfleck of a waltz,
Beethoven responded over a period e&tending from (( to ('2 with a series of 22
variations that constitute a final compendium of 6lassical techni0ues" <e took his leave from
the piano with his third cycle of -as Beethoven referred to them. Bagatelles op"'@, which not
only served as an e&perimental laboratory for the late 0uartets but also anticipated the
character3pieces of the ?omantics"
Although Schubert never billed himself as a pianist, he produced a prodigious 0uantity
of keyboard music over scarcely more than a decade, including solo sonatas, substantial
fragments of nine others, three sets of 4mpromptus and &oments musicau', and more than
)++ dances for occasional use" Auring his lifetime the @3bar (rauer)alzer d2@, no"' became
so popular that its citation did not re0uire the identification of Schubert as the composer" <e
began half a dozen sonatas before completing d,2!, the first of three impassioned works in A
minor" $wo of these, along with the /little A major -a perennial favourite. are in only three
movements; otherwise Schubert 1 unlike Beethoven after (+' 1 preferred the spaciousness
of a four3movement plan" Among the dance movements scherzos are most represented, but a
work as late as the >antasia in = d(%) -('@. presents an old3fashioned Menuetto" 4n certain
respects Schubert was formally less e&perimental than Beethoven" All of his opening
movements are in sonata form; after (% all but one of his finales are sonata3rondos or even
simpler straight rondos" <is slow movements are slightly more adventurous, favouring the
two3 and three3part forms whose simple contrasts proved so appealing to the ne&t generation"
But it is the relationship in Schuberts music between theme and tonality that differentiates
him from his great contemporary and that so profoundly influenced Brahms and Mahler" $he
/heavenly length praised by Schumann points up the leisurely unfolding of long, arching
themes rooted in song" ?ather than struggling to create dynamic transitions along
Beethovenian lines, Schubert viewed the obligatory modulation in e&positions as an
opportunity for a series of bold, common3tone key changes that minimize the structural
significance of the secondary tonality" 4n movements such as the finale of the 6 minor Sonata
d%,( this process is carried to almost bizarre lengths; in others, such as the deeply moving
Molto moderato that opens the last of the late sonatas, d%@+, the motion through the flattened
submediant -both major and minor. is achieved effortlessly through what amounts to thematic
transformation" Schuberts models in these sonatas, which compare in importance with those
of late Beethoven, are clearly the mature sonatas of <ummel -to whom he planned to dedicate
his final three." Although lacking the technical challenges routinely confronted in
Beethovens music, their figuration is rarely perfunctory; a compelling performance demands
an outstanding sensitivity to proportion and pacing" $he two e&ceptions to these moderate
technical demands are the Sonata in A d(,+, composed during the same summer, that of
(',, which saw the composition of the /=reat 6 major Symphony, and, emphatically, the
/7anderer >antasy, a work of unabashed virtuosity whose continuous structure inspired the
cyclic forms of Eiszt" $he song that provides the starting3point for its slow section, and from
which the work derives its name, provides perhaps the most splendid e&ample in Schubert of
the poignant contrast between major and minor"
Schuberts interest in smaller forms ran considerably deeper than Beethovens, and
resulted in some of his finest efforts" $he two sets of four impromptus and the si& &oments
musicau' -a title invented by the publisher Eeidesdorf. were created largely in the last two
years of the composers life, at least partly in response to e&hortations from publishers for less
demanding music" 4t is a tribute to Schuberts greatness that he was able to produce
masterpiece after masterpiece among works directed solely at the domestic market" Fnly the
first of the op")' impromptus uses sonata form, inspiring some writers to interpret its other
three members as the remainder of a four3movement sonata" At least half of the ) pieces in
these works are straightforward ternary forms with verbatim repeats of their opening sections"
Fthers, such as op"%) no"', introduce the double variation -ABAIBIAII inherited from <aydn
and later e&ploited by Mahler" $he care lavished by Schubert on the countless sets of lLndler,
=erman dances, waltzes and ecossaises -the first three of these stylistically indistinguishable.
far e&ceeded the demands of the form; many invite enrichment by the discreet addition of the
pedal3activated buff or 5anissary stops in vogue during the first 0uarter of the %th century"
$heir application was mandatory in the fashionable battle pieces first popularized by
Goczwaras (he Battle of rague -c!((." Although Schubert rarely e&ploited the available
range of the 8iennese pianos -none of the last three sonatas uses the e&tra )th added in the
bass around (@., his relationship to these instruments is considerably more sensual than that
of Beethoven" $he idiosyncratic wide spacing of chords, so fre0uently featuring the 2rd in the
soprano, and the placement of tunes in the clear, singing tenor register reflect the special
virtues of the pianos on which Schubert composed and performed"
Schuberts achievements in smaller forms were not without precedent in works by two
Bohemian composers, 5an $omCMek and 5an 8oNOMek" 7ith a series of evocatively titled
eclogues, rhapsodies or dithyrambs published between (+! and ((, $omCMek laid good
claim to being the originator of the short character3piece that proved so appealing to ?omantic
composers" <is pupil 8oNOMek took up residence in 8ienna, where he enjoyed fruitful
relationships with Beethoven, <ummel and Schubert" Although documentation is lacking, it
seems likely that 8oNOMeks impromptus influenced Schuberts compositions of the same
name"