Performance Thursday, March 12, 2015 | 8 PM

Sir András Schiff

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Sir András Schiff performs final piano sonatas by four great composers of the Austro-German tradition. The Classical era is represented by Haydn’s charming Sonata in D Major and Mozart’s B-flat–Major Sonata. Beethoven bridges the Classical and the Romantic eras and, in his profound Sonata No. 31, explores a new world of keyboard invention. Schubert’s Sonata in A Major is bold and lyrical with an especially daring Andantino of startling key changes.


  • Sir András Schiff, Piano


  • MOZART Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 570
  • BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110
  • HAYDN Piano Sonata in D Major, Hob. HVI: 51
  • SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959


Haydn's Piano Sonata No. 61 in D Major (Finale - Presto)
András Schiff, Piano

At a Glance

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART  Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 570

Often heard in an arrangement for violin and piano published shortly after Mozart’s death, this winsome work is the next-to-last of the composer’s extant piano sonatas. (The commonly accepted total of 18 excludes a number of sonatas known to have been lost.) He wrote it in early 1789, shortly before embarking on a concert tour to Germany that resulted in the three great “Prussian” String Quartets.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110

The last three of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas were composed between 1820 and late 1822, the period during which he was struggling to bring the Missa solemnis and the Ninth Symphony to completion. In the A-flat–Major Sonata, one often has the sense that the composer is feeling his way from one idea to the next, the notes forming themselves soundlessly under his fingers, detached from their auditory moorings.

JOSEPH HAYDN  Piano Sonata in D Major, Hob. HVI: 51

In his last three keyboard sonatas, Haydn exploited the expanded tonal resources of the Broadwood pianos he played during his two lengthy stays in London in the early 1790s. Despite—or perhaps because of—its extreme brevity, the D-Major Sonata packs a hefty punch. Its two movements are as chock full of musical ideas and inspiration as any of Haydn’s longer sonatas. 

FRANZ SCHUBERT  Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959

This work, too, is one of its composer’s last three piano sonatas. Written in the spring and summer of 1828, it was completed that September, only a few weeks before the composer’s untimely death. In contrast to the Sonata in C Minor written the same year, the mood of the A-Major Sonata is not primarily tragic: Schubert seems content to let us peer into the abyss without tumbling in.

This performance is part of Keyboard Virtuosos II.