Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Franz Schubert

The fourth and final of Schubert's first set of Impromptus, in A flat major, Op. 90, No. 4 (D. 899/4), recalls the texture of the second impromptu with its rapid passagework in the right hand above a more placid left-hand accompaniment. The fourth impromptu, however, begins in the tonic minor, making it seem, at least at the start, darker than the smoothly serene second impromptu. And although the outer section of the piece closes in the tonic major with a sweetly surging theme in the left hand, the central trio's dark melody in C sharp minor over pulsing chords in the left hand intensifies the work's feeling of desperation and despair. But the second half of the central section sings of faith and serenity in C sharp minor's dominant major: that is, in the impromptu's tonic major (G sharp major being the enharmonic equivalent of A flat major). Schubert returns to the outer section over a long sustained dominant, and although this dominant eventually resolves to the tonic minor of A flat, like the first outer section, the closing section is once again in the tonic major, bringing peace to the music at its end.