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Franz Schubert - Sonata in E flat major, D. 568

Music > Piano Music > Piano Sonatas

The sonatas of Schubert's earliest period find him in an experimental frame of mind, and happily exploiting such unusual keys as B major and D flat major. It was a sonata in the latter of these keys, D. 567, that became the parent of the more familiar sonata in E flat, D. 568.

Written in 1817, Schubert may have regarded its original key as a potential barrier to publication, though as things turned out the work did not appear in print until the year following his death.

The sonata in its E flat major manifestation is, however, far from a mere transposition of the D flat original: in recasting the work Schubert took the opportunity of making wholesale changes. The revision may date from a much later stage, perhaps 1826, when there would have been more of an incentive for Schubert to prepare the work for publication. While the sonata in C major D. 568
is only performed very rarely, the Sonata in E flat major D. 567 is a regular item in recital programmes.

It too however is an early example of the Schubert sonata, and is marked more by a succession of 'phrases' than by personal interpretative developments. The rewriting was probably undertaken at the request of the publisher, who would have wanted to provide the growing ranks of amateur pianists with items in 'easy' keys, without too many sharps and flats in the key signature. Indeed the second movement of the sonata in D flat major is in C minor; in practice there is a transition from major to minor.

I. Allegro moderato

II. Andante

III. Menuetto, allegretto

IV. Allegro moderato

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