About this Recording
2.110540 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - AUSTRIA AND ITALY: A Musical Tour of the Lienz Dolomites (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of Austria and Italy – The Lienz Dolomites
With music by Franz Schubert

 

CHAPTER 1

The Lienz Dolomites, Austria: Church of St Ulrich and Excavations at Lavant

The Dolomites, which take their name from that of the 18th-century French geologist Dieudonné Dolomieu, offer strange pinnacles of stone in curious rock formations. The landscape ranges from the lower wooded slopes to the bare rock of the highest mountains, the foliage showing autumn colours. The Church of St Ulrich, with its graveyard, is near the excavations at Lavant, where archaeologists have uncovered the remains of late Roman occupation, although the area also has evidence of much earlier settlements.

Music Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929, Op. 100 – I. Allegro

Schubert seemed on the verge of significant success at the time of his death in 1828. His brief career was largely spent in Vienna, where he had been born in 1797, but overshadowed in his final years by illness. Lacking distinguished patronage, he was unable to take the risk of a concert devoted to his work until March 1828, an event that proved both successful and profitable, but by the autumn his health had weakened, the consequence of a venereal infection contracted six years earlier. He died on 19th November 1828. The Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D929, with Piano Trio No.2 in B flat major, D898, and the posthumously published Notturno, D897, were probably written late in 1827. The second of the two completed piano trios, a work for which Schumann expressed a general preference over the first of the two, finding it more spirited, masculine and dramatic in tone, was first performed at a private party in January 1828 to celebrate the engagement of Schubert’s school-friend Josef von Spaun and formed part of the public concert of Schubert’s music in March. It was given its first private performance by distinguished performers, the pianist Karl Maria von Bocklet, with the violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh and the cellist Josef Linke. At the public concert in March Schuppanzigh, who was indisposed, was replaced by the violinist, Josef Böhm. The trio was published by Probst in Leipzig, the first of Schubert’s compositions to attract the attention of a foreign publisher, in October 1828. The first movement starts with an immediate call to our attention and a first subject of dramatic outline leads to a more lyrical second theme, introduced by the cello, closely followed by the violin. The thematic material of the exposition is duly explored in the central development with its shifts of key, followed by a recapitulation.

CHAPTER 2

Ainet, Austria: Pitschenboden Upland Moor

Ainet is a small town adjacent to the Schober Group sub-range of the Austrian Alps. Pitschenboden, set among the mountains, offers an air of tranquillity, with its wooded slopes and variegated foliage.

Music Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929, Op. 100 – II. Andante con moto

The C minor slow movement has a melody that Schubert’s friend Leopold von Sonnleithner later reported as that of a Swedish folk-song. This has now been identified as Se solen sjunker (The sun is down).

CHAPTER 3

Oberlienz, Austria: Landscape and Watermills

The district of Oberlienz has watermills, their traditional wooden mill-wheels turned by the water speeding through the mill-race.

Music Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929, Op. 100 – III. Scherzando: Allegro moderato

The use of canon in the Scherzo, as violin and cello enter in imitation of the piano, has its precedents, not least in Haydn. The A flat major Trio which it frames brings dynamic contrasts.

CHAPTER 4

The Lienz Dolomites, Austria

The Dolomites make a strange contrast, with their ominous presence, to the green pastures and grazing cattle below.

Music Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929, Op. 100 – IV. Allegro moderato

The final Allegro moderato, with its now repeated exposition and extended development, is introduced by the piano with a lilting melody. The movement includes a contrasting secondary theme, first appearing in C minor, and reminiscences of the folk-song of the slow movement, before its brilliant conclusion.

CHAPTER 5

Southern Tyrol, Italy: Oberbozen (Soprabolzano) – Ritten Landscape and Earth Pyramids

The earth pyramids at Ritten are a curious geological formation, the moraine clays of a glacier deposit eroded, in the course of time, to produce this strange group of pinnacles, in which stones are embedded

Music Schubert: Piano Trio in E flat major, D. 897, Op. 148 (Notturno, Op. posth.): Adagio

It has been suggested that the Notturno, a single Adagio movement, was originally intended as the slow movement of Piano Trio No. 1, and the dating of the paper used supports this view. It starts with the arpeggiated chords of the piano, followed by violin and cello in close partnership. The piano part later takes the lead in a movement that seems to exceed the bounds of a slow movement.

Keith Anderson

Recording

Stuttgart Piano Trio [Naxos 8.550132].


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