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Franz Schubert - Sonata in E minor, D. 566

Music > Piano Music > Piano Sonatas

The Sonata in E minor, D. 566 belongs to a group of works written in 1817, at a time when Schubert was grappling with sonata composition, and like a good few of its companions it was left in an incomplete state. Moreover, since Schubert seems in several instances to have composed individual movements without regard to the question of their ultimate order, it cannot be determined with any certainty which of them he intended as parts of the same work.

The first two movements of the E minor Sonata were followed in Schubert's manuscript by a scherzo in the key of A flat major, though it is possible that by this stage he had embarked on an altogether different work; and it has even been suggested that an E major Rondo written in the previous year is actually the sonata's finale. Be all this as it may, there is no doubt that the two movements make a satisfactory whole. They form, in fact, a sonata very much along the lines of Beethoven's in the same key, Op.90, and the second of Schubert's two movements is palpably influenced by the rondo from Beethoven's sonata.

That Schubert knew the op. 90 Sonata is shown by his beautiful A major Rondo for , of 1828; and if we assume, as we should, that the A minor Allegro, D. 947 was intended to stand together with that late Rondo to form a two-movement sonata, then we can see the E minor Sonata of 1817 as a clear precedent. Its second movement is, nevertheless, not a rondo, but a relaxed sonata form in the major, characterised throughout by the dactyllic rhythm that was to haunt Schubert for years to come.

I. Moderato
II. Scherzo - Trio
III. Allegretto
IV. Rondo Allegretto

I. Moderato

II. Allegretto

III. Scherzo, allegro vivace

IV. Rondo, allegretto

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