Piano Sonata in A minor, D 845 (Schubert)

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The Piano Sonata in A minor D. 845 (Op. 42) by Franz Schubert is a sonata for solo piano, composed in May 1825.


I. Moderato

A minor. Sonata form (second theme in C major).

II. Andante poco moto

C major. Theme and variations.

In most printed versions, the first variation is not exact: 4 measures (corresponding to m. 20-23 of the theme) are missing after measure 43. This discrepancy was first pointed out by Paul Badura-Skoda. (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 119, 1958 p. 635-43)

The Wiener Urtext edition provides an emendation with the note: "Passage in smaller print - editor's suggested insertion - totally missing in [First Edition], probably due to engraver's error when changing to new page. Inconceivable that Schubert would deliberately omit four measures here since there is complete conformity in the other variations." (Schubert: Sämtliche Klaviersonaten Band 2 (Tirimo), p. 241.) The First Edition is the primary source since the autograph itself is lost.

III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio: Un poco più lento

A minor - A major. Trio in F major.

IV. Rondo: Allegro vivace

A minor. Sonata-rondo (second theme in E minor - E major).

The first movement is in sonata form though with ambiguity over the material in the development and the beginning of the recapitulation.[1]

The second movement is in C major (relative key to A minor) variation form, with somewhat frequent forays into the parallel minor, C minor.

The third movement is a scherzo in compound ternary form, where the main scherzo is essentially in sonata form. The main scherzo opens in A minor and soon switches to the second theme in C major without a transition. The development goes through F minor, A-flat major and A-flat minor, finally arriving on an imperfect cadence in A minor. After the development comes the opening theme in A minor, soon followed by the second theme in A major (also in which the main scherzo ends). The calmer and slower trio section is in F major, the submediant major to A minor (also the subdominant of the relative key to A minor). No extra coda is present after the recapitulated main scherzo.

The fourth movement, in A minor, begins with a melancholic but light melody. This movement is in sonata rondo form with foreshortened recapitulation. The secondary subject in the exposition goes from E minor to E major, while that in the recapitulation goes from A minor to A major. This movement finally closes in A minor.

Daniel Coren has discussed the nature of the recapitulation in the first movement of this sonata.[2] Noted performers of the work in the 19th century included Hans von Bülow, who played the sonata in both Europe and the USA.[3]


  1. ^ Tania Halban (2 September 2013). "Schubert's Sonata Form: analysis of Schubert's A minor Piano Sonata D.845". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  2. ^ Coren, Daniel (1974). "Ambiguity in Schubert's Recapitulations". The Musical Quarterly. LX (4): 568–582. doi:10.1093/mq/LX.4.568. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  3. ^ Gould, John (Winter 2005). "What Did They Play?: The Changing Repertoire of the Piano Recital from the Beginnings to 1980". The Musical Times. Musical Times Publications Ltd. 146 (1893): 61–76. doi:10.2307/30044125. JSTOR 30044125. 

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Piano sonatas (2 hands) by Franz Schubert
Preceded by
Sonata in A minor (D. 784)
AGA, Series 10 (15 sonatas)
No. 9
Succeeded by
Sonata in A major (D. 664)
Preceded by
Sonata in C major (D. 840)
21 Sonatas numbering system
No. 16
Succeeded by
Sonata in D major (D. 850)
23 Sonatas numbering system
No. 18