Skip to page content

About this Piece

Schubert composed eight Impromptus, in two sets, all in 1827; five of the eight are in major keys, including the two pieces heard tonight. Unlucky for Schubert, he lived virtually all his life under the shadow of that giant in his kingdom of Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven. In awe of the master when the young man was 19, Schubert later recovered from his bout with Beethovenitis and thereafter remained true to his own individuality, which was far more gentle and lyric than Beethoven’s.

When it came to writing the first of his Impromptus (a year before his own death), Schubert was in full command of his own creative identity. As a composer for piano, this meant exploiting keyboard sonority as sheer color in multi-hues, and using sudden and unexpected shifts of key as a crucial element of his expressive language.

–Orrin Howard