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Franz Schubert
FANTASIA in F minor for piano duet
Goodmusic GM451

Catalogue Number: GM451

ISMN: 9790222327061

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Fantasia in F minor (ed.Lawson) image
New edition edited by Peter Lawson.
Schubert wrote more piano duets than any other major composer - the Fantasia in F minor was the last and, unquestionably, the greatest of them. It was dedicated to his pupil, Countess Caroline Esterházy. Schubert had been in unrequited love with the young noblewoman and she had previously joked with him about why he had never dedicated a work to her, to which he had said that everything he wrote was dedicated to her. He clearly relented on this occasion - definitely a pointer to the astonishing emotional content of this work of great originality and tragic grandeur. It was composed in the first three months of 1828 and performed by Schubert and Franz Lachner on May 9th. Later that year, Schubert would go on to complete his ninth symphony, write the great C major string quintet and the last three piano sonatas before typhoid would sadly claim the life of this musical genius in November, aged only 31.
The Fantasia is in four inter-connected movements. The sad, haunting opening melody with its jerky nervousness, reappears tellingly in the final movement, where it gives way to a fugue, loosely based upon a contrasting thematic idea from the first movement. The fugue builds gradually, with almost terrifying harmonies appearing at its climax and suddenly stops on a monumental imperfect cadence. This leads to the final appearance of the opening theme, which, after a dramatic plagal cadence, ends poignantly, as if in resignation. The middle two movements are, unusually, written up a semitone, in F sharp minor…first a powerful slow movement with double-dotted baroque-like rhythms and dramatic harmonic twists, almost gothic in character. There is a contrasting middle section full of grace and charm. The third movement is a light-hearted scherzo with a characteristically delightful Trio section. Peter Lawson
Duration 19½ minutes

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