FRANZ SCHUBERT Four Impromptus, D.
their name implies, these four impromptus—composed less than a year before
Schubert’s untimely death—share a spontaneous, improvisatory quality. Yet so deliberately
did he lay the set out that it has often been likened to a four-movement
sonata. The lyrical theme-and-variations in the third movement evokes the
intimate, singing tone that contemporaries admired in the composer’s piano
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN Four Impromptus
over a period of roughly eight years, Chopin’s four impromptus illustrate the
increasing range and complexity of his music as he expanded his stylistic
horizons in the 1830s and ’40s, partly under the influence of Liszt. In these
pieces—as in his nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, and other solo piano works—Chopin
imbued the brilliance of the salon style with unprecedented poetic depth.
SAMUEL ADAMS Impromptu No. 2 in A-flat
Major (after Schubert)
Francisco–born composer Samuel Adams has forged an eclectic idiom that
comprises acoustic and electroacoustic, classical and popular, and old and new
elements. The A-flat Major Impromptu is one of three impromptus commissioned by
Emanuel Ax that were designed to be interleaved with Schubert’s Four
Impromptus, D. 935, but can also be performed independently.
FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58
demonstrated uncompromising independence as both a composer and pianist. Liszt characterized
him as “one of those original beings” who are “adrift from all bondage.” It was
arguably the unparalleled range and subtlety of Chopin’s pianism that enabled him
to cast off the shackles of musical convention so successfully in works such as
the great Sonata in B Minor.