Performance Analysis: Fantasy in C Major, Op. 15 (D. 760) (“Wanderer” Fantasy)

2217 Words Dec 3rd, 2011 9 Pages
Performance Analysis: Fantasy in C Major, Op. 15 (D. 760) (“Wanderer” Fantasy)

Schubert composed the Fantasy in C Major (“Wanderer” Fantasy) in 1822. This fantasy became a milestone in music history because it was the first time when a composer “integrated a four-movement sonata into a single movement.” Schubert did so by matching the sequence of a traditional four-movement sonata (Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo, Finale) to one big sonata form (exposition, development, recapitulation, coda). This exploration opened a new era of composing romantic music because it created an expanded form with more freedom in theme. Composers in this way were granted more freedom to compose based on their personal imagination and to compose with more virtuosity.
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But still, Brendel’s performance shares modern “strait” characteristics with Pollini’s recording because of its accuracy from the text. It was more difficult to find recordings earlier than the 1950s, but recordings from Walter Rehberg, Edwin Fischer, Vladimir Sofronitzky and Elly Ney proved that earlier approaches to the Wanderer Fantasy were somewhat different. Their practices of this piece were marked by agogic accent, rhythmic nuance, in a way with more freedom from the romantic approach and less accuracy from the “straight” playing.
The recording Walter Rehberg made in 1927 started with a quarter note equals 158 and slowed down to an eighth note equals to 55 in Adagio. Not only the range for tempo rubato was wider, but there were also agogic accent and rhythmic nuance in his playing. An example would be at bar 32 in Allegro, where Rehberg created an agogic accent by letting the chord on right hand appear slightly later (Example 3). In Adagio, Rehberg spread out some chords from bar 9 to bar 17 to emphasis the melody (Example 4). The arpeggiated chord was a trait of romantic practice and was shared by Edwin Fischer in his recording in 1934. Fischer spread out every chord as an accent on sforzando from bar 165 to 176 in Allegro (Example 5). Fischer also did not follow every dynamic mark on the score. Instead of starting with fortissimo in Presto, Fischer played a piano. This occurred at bar 277
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