Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Franz Schubert

The second of Schubert's first set of Impromptus from 1827, Op. 90, No. 2 (D. 899/2), begins like an étude, with rapidly flowing triplets in the right hand, in which is embedded a melody of limpid beauty set in a pellucid E flat major. But as the first section moves to its close, the harmonies turn darker and the melody cadences on the cruel dominant of B minor, that is, the dominant built of the flat third degree of E flat, which has the effect of turning the whole first section the tonic minor. The central section is a thunderous dance in B minor, starting fortissimo and building through bleak modulations to crashing fortissimo sforzandos. The outer section returns to E flat major through an exquisite modulation but is forever changed by the dark central B minor, and it comes as no surprise that the central dance returns as the piece's coda, but closing this time in the desolate and devastated tonic minor fortissimo sforzando.