Thursday, 15 March 2012


What better way can there be to begin a piece of music than to set in motion a characterful accompaniment and send over it a beautiful violin tune that fits it hand-in-glove? That's why the start of Schubert's Violin Sonata in A major D574 is so attractive. Though lyrical, both tune and accompaniment are capable of being worked on motifically and transformed into transitional material or, as in the case of the sparkling second subject, a 'new' tune that's completely different in character from the first subject. After the entertaining exposition, Schubert provides a brief but enjoyable development section and a straightforward recapitulation. 

The main section of the following Scherzo opens with a fanfare-like theme piano theme and is worthy of a fanfare of its own, being great fun. Brilliant and rhythmically engaging, the movement positively fizzes and has a harmonic dash typical of our Franz. The Trio section features a charming, insouciant tune and, for contrast's sake, some chromatic touches that give it added interest. 

The Andantino is, as its marking hints, not one of Schubert's most searching slow movements but it is no less lovable for that, having charming, faintly folkish melodies and using devices like double-stopping pleasingly. It's not without dramatic outbursts nor moments of harmonic magic though. 

There's more fun to be had from the Finale, with its frisky main theme and a cracking, lilting second tune.

Schubert's music has one of the warmest of all hearts. This sonata is sure to warm yours too. 

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