Franz Schubert – Fantasie in F Minor

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Painting by Alex Katsenelson

Today I wanted to share Fantasie in F Minor by Austrian composer Franz Schubert.  Schubert lived a very short life: when he was 25 he contracted syphilis, and at the time syphilis was a treacherous, painful death sentence (just like AIDS 20 years ago).  He died at the tender age of 32.

Just imagine a young man age 25, his life supposedly lying ahead of him, but instead he is staring death in the face.  Understandably, Schubert was depressed.  You can hear this depression in his music; it is full of melancholy.

Schubert was an addict: he was addicted to composing.  In the sixteen years of his creative life he wrote over a thousand songs, 9 symphonies, 22 piano sonatas, 17 operas, over a thousand works for piano, and many other works.  Most composers were not able to accomplish as much in a full natural lifetime.

Schubert was a very mediocre pianist.  Where Sergei Rachmaninoff or Franz Liszt were virtuoso pianists and thus their piano music was very demanding of a performer’s technical skills, for Schubert the piano was just a vessel to communicate his music and nothing more.

This Fantasie is a great example of that.  It is written for a piano and four hands (or two mediocre pianists).  This is speculation on my part, but if Liszt or Rachmaninoff had written this piece it would have been for two hands (or one virtuoso pianist).  In this observation, I am not trying to detract anything from Schubert – quite the opposite – but I feel these small glimpses into composers’ lives help me to understand and relate better to their music.

Fantasie in F Minor, Franz Schubert – piano, Lucas & Arthur Jussen

As a bonus, Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90 No. 4

 

Article Categories:
Music
Composers:
Franz Schubert

Comments

  • The Two Sides of Chopin - My Favorite Classical Music by Vitaliy Katsenelson says:

    […] not a good pianist – the piano was just another instrument to him, a means to his music. His “Fantasia in F minor” is written for four hands (two pianists). If Liszt had composed the piece, he undoubtably would […]

    • A. Edelson says:

      This is the most beautiful performance of the F minor Fantasy I have ever heard. No mediocre pianist could handle it.

      • Alan Malmberg says:

        If this is a mediocre pianist then I definitely am not worthy!! I have been playing piano and organ for over 55 years including for church and could never play like this. Even my son is better than me now. Seems we like alot of the same classical artists. I was also a mobile dj for over 25 years so all types of music are a huge part of my life. Thanks for this!

  • Joan says:

    Thank you for the trouble you have gone to to entertain and inform. The schubert Fantasie in E minor is wonderful . Surprised to learn that he was not a great pianist.
    I loved the Thursday morning gift of music

  • Mike Jordan Sr says:

    Thank you for this performance very informative.

  • Janet A. Washburn says:

    I’m really enjoying these selections as a newcomer.

  • Ari Fernando Ramos says:

    Thank you very much for the selections you send me

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