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Schubert Quartet No 12

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The Exposition begins with a short introduction... ...jagged descending notes, like the sound of driving rain. This introduction has an anxious quality to it... ...which is about to be soothed by the entrance of the 1st theme. This 1st theme is a beautiful soaring melody that rises on the first violin. It rises up even higher, and the first violin and cello sing a delicate duet together. Note the delicate rhythmic accompaniment from the second violin and the viola. It's like the air current that carries the melody. The transition begins...the aggressive "raining" sound returns... The first violin plays furious rushing upwards notes which contrast with the jagged descending cello. With a jarring, woozy sound, the "rain" stops... ...and the instruments quietly move us into the 2nd theme. Notice that in this 2nd theme, the viola and cello are playing a slow version of the jagged notes from the opening introduction. Then a very intimate moment, with high harmonies and later plucking. The cello begins a gentle back and forth murmuring. Above it, the two violins rise higher and higher...until the melody vanishes (almost into thin air!) Then Schubert asks that the Exposition be repeated. So we hear the anxious introduction again... ...leading into... ...the soaring 1st theme. The stormy transition begins again, with the jagged cello and the rushing violin... ...taking us back to... ...the 2nd theme again. The high harmonies and plucking. The gently rising violins. But this time, the music moves into... ...the Development! It begins by alternating between the driving "rain" sound of the introduction... ...and the singing sound of the 1st and 2nd theme. The first violin sings a leaping melody, which is answered by the other instruments. The cello becomes deeper and more elegant, the violin floats even higher... ...the Recapitulation is about to arrive...with a surprise... ...it begins by moving straight into the soaring 1st theme - but notice that Schubert has skipped the "rainy" introduction. You'll find out why shortly. The duet between violin and cello continues. We hear the stormy transition one last time. It quietens down and leads into... ...the final return of the 2nd theme. The high harmonies and plucking. The rising theme in the violin. Schubert has one more trick up his sleeve... For the Coda, he brings back the jagged introduction that he "skipped" before... ...which brings the piece right back to the beginning as it finishes.

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 4 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 252
Posted by: bromley on Jul 28, 2009

Schubert's String Quartet No 12 with explanatory subtitles.

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