Arpeggione Sonata

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The Sonata in A minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821, was written by Franz Schubert in Vienna in November 1824. The sonata is the only substantial composition for the arpeggione (which was essentially a bowed guitar) which remains extant today. It belongs to the same period as the Death and the Maiden Quartet, when Schubert was suffering from the advanced stages of syphilis and lapsing into increasingly frequent episodes of depression.

History[edit]

The piece was probably commissioned by Schubert's friend Vincenz Schuster, who was a virtuoso of the arpeggione, an instrument which had been invented only the previous year. By the time the sonata was published posthumously in 1871, the enthusiasm for the novelty of the arpeggione had long since vanished, together with the instrument itself.[1]

Today, the piece is heard almost exclusively in transcriptions for cello and piano or viola and piano that were arranged after the posthumous publication, although versions that substitute other instruments, including the double bass, the flute, the euphonium and the clarinet, or the guitar for the piano part are also performed. [1] Transcribers have attempted to address the problems posed by the smaller playing range of these alternative instruments, in comparison with the arpeggione, as well as the attendant modifications in articulation (4 versus 6 strings).

The work has been recorded in the original version by the following musicians:

Movements[edit]

The work consists of three movements. A typical performance takes just over 20 minutes.

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Adagio in E major
  3. Allegretto in A major

Noted arrangements[edit]

Media[edit]

Arpeggione Sonata

Performed by Hans Goldstein (cello) and Clinton Adams (piano)

Performed by Elias Goldstein (viola) with the Advent Chamber Orchestra

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ see also: AQUINO, F. Avellar de. "Six-Stringed Virtuoso". The Strad Magazine, Harrow, Middlesex, UK, v. 109, n. 1297, p. 500-507, 1998.(on the Arpeggione and Schubert's Sonata)

References[edit]

  • Aquino, F. Avellar de. "Six-Stringed Virtuoso". in The Strad Magazine, Harrow, Middlesex, UK, v. 109, n. 1297, p. 500-507, May 1998. (Article about the Arpeggione and also on Schubert's Sonata)
  • Sadie, Stanley, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 16, 6th. ed., London: Macmillan Press Limited, 1980. s.v. “Schubert, Franz” by Maurice J. E. Brown.
  • Tree, Michael, “Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata.” The Strad Magazine, vol. 105, February 1994, p.142. (Master-Class on the Sonata)

External links[edit]