Piano Sonata in D major, D 850 (Schubert)

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Franz Schubert's Piano Sonata in D major D. 850, Op. 53, known as the Gasteiner, was written during August 1825 whilst the composer was staying in the spa town of Bad Gastein. A year later, it became only the second of his piano sonatas to be published.


Schubert, piano sonata opus 53, first movement

I. Allegro vivace

D major. The autograph has alla breve Allegro while the first edition (published during Schubert's lifetime and thus probably a revision) gives common-time Allegro vivace.

II. Con moto

A major

III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio

D major

Trio in G major

IV. Rondo: Allegro moderato

D major

The work takes approximately 40 minutes to perform.


The sonata is noticeably faster in tempo than many other of Schubert's sonatas. Whereas Schubert would regularly restrain an Allegro movement with markings such as moderato or ma non troppo, in this sonata, both the first and third movements are marked with vivace. Even the slower second movement is marked with con moto, meaning with movement.

In the lively first movement, the themes mainly consist of repeated scales and chords. However, the pace and excitement of the movement still places considerable technical demands on the soloist. Also the second theme bears a resemblance to the opening melody of one of the songs Schubert also composed whilst staying in Bad Gastein, Das Heimweh, D. 851. The slower second movement has a brooding main theme combined with a sense of lively animation. Then follows a typical playful scherzo, but the trio section is more stately and serious, contrasting well with the other music. The rondo finale opens in the upper register with a march-like theme. The middle section starts with a lyrical theme that suddenly turns stormy. Like the first movement, the movement presents considerable challenges to the pianist throughout, both technically and interpretively.

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Piano sonatas (2 hands) by Franz Schubert
Preceded by
Sonata in A major (D. 664)
AGA, Series 10 (15 sonatas)
No. 11
Succeeded by
Sonata in G major (D. 894)
Preceded by
Sonata in A minor (D. 845)
21 Sonatas numbering system
No. 17
23 Sonatas numbering system
No. 19