On The Piano: Size Isn't Everything For Schubert's 'Impromptus'
Franz Schubert had great friends, and he needed them. His father wanted him to teach school, but Franz was built to compose music, and what started as a family hobby turned into an all consuming passion. Giving up his teaching job, Schubert turned to his friends, and with their help he was allowed, slowly and painfully, to become the artist he knew himself to be.
On the Piano this Sunday, more of Schubert's powerful short piano works, dubbed "impromptus" by his publisher. These pieces communicated Schubert's personality as well as any of his nearly 1,000 compositions. This week we pick up with number 6 of the eight composed in 1827.
Schubert had his joy of being published tempered with the knowledge that the printer wanted short easy works for the student that would sell. Robert Schumann and music critic Alfred Eisenstein see the second set of "impromptus" as a disguised piano sonata. Whether it is or not, we hear the last three works of the second set and three Klavierstucke, or piano pieces, composed in Schubert's last year of life that stretch his piano technique to its most demanding.
I look for the most persuasive of the recordings available to me and you can hear them on The Piano, this Sunday evening at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.