SCHUBERT: 6 Moments Musicaux, D. 780 / 3 Piano Pieces, D. 946 (Jeno Jando/ Monika Feszler) (Naxos: 8.550259)
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Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
6 Moments musicaux, Opus 94, D, 780
Allegretto in C minor, D. 915
3 Klavierstucke, D, 946
Franz Schubert was born in Vienna in1797, the son of a schoolmaster who had followed his brother to the Imperial capital fromhis native Moravia. Descended on his mother's side from Silesian stock, Schubert was asViennese in language and outlook as any other inhabitant of a city, the cultural strengthof which lay in its very mixture of races.
Schubert's family showedconsiderable musical enthusiasm, his father evidently the least proficient member of thefamily string quartet, in which he played the cello. Schubert himself, like Mozart beforehim, played the violin and viola, and was a proficient enough keyboard-player, if no greatvirtuoso. His musical and general education was at the Staatskonvikt, an institution heattended as a member of the choir of the Imperial Chapel directed by the KapellmeisterAntonio Salieri, his composition teacher. In 1812, when his voice broke, he left the choirand rather than continue an education that would have distracted him from music he chosein 1814 to embark on a course of teacher training, joining his father in the familybusiness as an assistant teacher in the following year.
During these early years Schuberthad shown considerable musical precocity. His first surviving compositions date from 1810and by the following year he had embarked on the writing of the first of the many songsettings in which his particular genius in melodic invention is shown. 1811 brought hisfirst attempt at opera, a medium in which he never achieved any particular distinction,and his ambitious attempts at others forms of vocal and instrumental music. The followingyears brought a flood of music of all kinds so that by the end of the year in which hecompleted his formal education he had already written, among other things threesymphonies, a dozen or so string quartets and some fifty songs.
As a school-teacher Schubert showedlittle ability or interest and in 1816 he gave up the attempt, living thereafterintermittently with various friends, busy as a composer and as an important figure in hisown circle, but never enjoying any official position as a musician. His last years weredarkened by illness of syphilitic origin that first made itself known in 1823, itspredictable and fatal progress awakening immediate fears for his life. He died in 1828,the year of the first public concert dedicated to his music, at a time when publisherswere showing an increased interest in his work.
Schubert's six Momens musicals, which might more correctly haveappeared as Moments musicaux, were published in Vienna in 1828 by Leidesdorf, with whomthe composer had come to an agreement in 1822 to provide songs for two years in return fora regular payment of 480 florins. The sixth of the later Musical Moments was published in1824 in a Christmas album under the title Les Plaintesd'un Troubadour. Like the Impromptus
these short piano pieces seem to owe a debt to the Bohemian composer Tomasek and his pupilJan Vorlsek. The third of the set is in Rosamunde
vein and the fourth in Baroque style. The Allegretto inC minor belongs in form to the same group of pieces and was given by thecomposer to his friend Ferdinand Watcher, an official in the War Ministry, on hisdeparture for Venice, the base of the Imperial fleet, in May 1827. It forms the composer'sbrief adieu to his friend, hinting at his soon return.
The three Piano Pieces of May 1828 were to be published onlyforty years later. The first, described by Alfred Einstein as in the French manner,includes an original additional Andantino A flat section. The last, in the tripartite formso often used for music of this kind, Einstein sees as Hungarian, with the second of thepieces, more elaborate in structure, based on an Italian cavatina, its contrastingepisodes moving into ever remoter keys. The pieces, in spite of Einstein's contrary view,do not seem to have been conceived as a single work but were published in this form byBrahms in 1868.
Jeno Jando was born at Pecs, insouth Hungary, in 1952. He started to learn the piano when he was seven and later studiedat the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music under Katalin Nemes and Pal Kadosa, becomingassistant to the latter on his graduation in 1974. Jand6 has won a. number of pianocompetitions in Hungary and abroad, including first prize in the 1973 Hungarian PianoConcours and a first prize in the chamber music category at the Sydney International PianoCompetition in 1977. In addition to his many appearances in Hungary, he has played widelyabroad in Eastern and Western Europe, in Canada and in Japan.
He is currently engaged in a projectto record all Mozart's piano concertos for Naxos. Other recordings for the Naxos labelinclude the concertos of Grieg and Schumann as well as Rachmaninov's Second Concerto and Paganini Rhapsody and Beethoven's complete pianosonatas.