Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata

Now for something more traditional instead of those tick-tock-bang-boom modern pieces. Have been listening to Franz Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata pretty often these few days. Parts of this profound and emotionally volatile piece sounds terribly anguished and exhibits such cyclothymic qualities while the other parts present the cheerful and lively side of his character, even sounding sugary sweet at times. And the magical side of this piece to me is the transitions between the dark and bright sides never sounded unnatural and it reflects how much emotional turmoil Schubert had gone through in the process of composing this magnificent piece of art.

It was written exactly two years after he contacted syphilis and the following excerpt is part of a letter Schubert had written to his friend Leopold Kupelweiser:

In a word, I feel myself to be the most unhappy and wretched creature in the world. Imagine a man whose health will never be right again, and who in sheer despair over this ever makes things worse and worse, instead of better; imagine a man, I say, whose most brilliant hopes have come to nothing, to whom the joy of love and friendship have nothing to offer but pain, at best, whose enthusiasm (at least of the stimulating kind) for all things beautiful threatens to vanish, and ask yourself, is he not a miserable, unhappy being? — "My peace is gone, my heart is sore, I shall find it never and nevermore." I may well sing every day now, for each night, I go to bed hoping never to wake again, and each morning only tells me of yesterday's grief.
-Franz Schubert, Dokumente 1817-1830, i: Texte, ed. T. G. Waidelich (Tutzing, 1993) 234

And I just know that I'm not going to let this most beautiful gem escape me and I shall master the transcription of piece for guitar and a string ensemble in the near future.

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