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The Sonata in C major D. 279, the second sonata composed by Schubert in 1815/16 may be considered as the point of departure for one of the most adventurous, ardous journeys in the history of music, the journey undertaken by a genius so disarming and astonishing that it remains unfathomable even today. A journey that was to culminate in an exemplary explosion of sonata form, romantically foreign to classical logic while at the same time going beyond the mere statement of a new era.
Although Schubert regarded Beethoven as a figure of heroic proportions, it is curious that in his early sonatas he took as his model not the most matured manifestations of Beethoven's career (which, in 1815 with the Op. 90 was scaling the dizzy heights of the last 5 sonatas) but extraordinary humility.
The first movement displays assonances remarkedly reminicent of Beethoven's Op. 2. No. 3, but also stylistic features typical of Haydn's symphonic writing such as the extreme staccato's in the bass line. Only in the descending choral progressions and their
dissonant 'clashes' with the right hand line can harmonic disquiet in an unmistakably Schubertian modul be detected. The second movement too is steeped in distant references to Beethoven, recalling the op. 2 No. 1. But the melancholic introversions of the melody and the transparant ferment of the repeated chords reveal underlying affinities between the modes of expression of Mozart and Schubert.
The third movement (Minuet) exists as two versions, the second incorporated into the Sonata, and the first catalogued as an item on its own (D. 277 A). In practice the only difference between them is in the central trio; strangely the trio in A major, that appears in in the Minuet in the sonata, has a rather campestral nature, strongly reminiscent of Haydn, whereas the trio in the Minuet in F major that stands on it's own inclines rather towards a delicacy more typical of Schubert. The sonata concludes with the Allegretto Moderato D. 346 which until not long ago, was considered a separate piece. Similarities in the writing (and in the paper) have however given credence to the theory that it was in fact the finale (even though unfinished)
of the D. 279, merely composed at a later date (in 1816).
Menuetto - Allegro Vivace