"RETRACING THE JOURNEY OF FRANZ SCHUBERT'S WANDERER: MUSICAL FINGERPRINTS IN THE B-FLAT SONATA, D. 960"
Franz Schubert’s last piano Sonata in B-flat, major, D. 960, has always remained an intriguing piece of music for me ever since hearing it for the first time when I was an undergraduate at Rice University. Even though the technique required within the B-flat Sonata is not as difficult as other Schubert piano works, a performance of this piece cannot be approached lightly considering the emotional concentration that the music demands. This document is dedicated to exploring the source of the Sonata in B-flat’s emotional content, which will involve Schubert’s failing health, his depression, and his preoccupation with a popular character in German Romanticism, the Wanderer. The first chapter addresses Schubert’s biographical background to explain why his emotional and physical state at the time of the Sonata in B-flat’s creation could have affected the composer’s preference for music related to the Wanderer. The second chapter discusses Schubert’s famous song “Der Wanderer,” D. 493, based upon one of the most popular characters of the Romantic era, the isolated Wanderer searching for his homeland. This chapter also identifies musical characteristics within “Der Wanderer,” that resurface throughout Schubert’s other works related to a Wanderer character. The following chapter, the main portion of the document, uncovers these musical characteristics of the Wanderer within Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat, in addition to other harmonic and melodic associations that reveal the Wanderer’s influence on the Sonata. Finally, the last chapter links the Sonata in B-flat to other Wanderer characteristics found throughout many of Schubert’s late compositions. In order to fully appreciate the genius of the Sonata in B-flat, D. 960, Schubert’s subtle references to the Romantic Wanderer within the sonata must be fully understood. This will in turn lead to a greater understanding of the great composer in his final months of life.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:schubert franz peter sonata in b flat d 960 wanderer late compositions
Date of Publication:01/01/2004