Schubert's Mature Instrumental Music

Schubert's Mature Instrumental Music

A Theorist's Perspective

David Beach

Probing analyses, from the renowned music theorist, of Schubert's great, yet still little-studied piano-solo, chamber, and symphonic masterpieces.
In his instrumental works, Franz Schubert, like Beethoven, expanded on the classical traditions, especially in the areas of form and harmony. Yet many of these works have only recently begun to be appreciated for their true worth by performers, listeners, and scholars.

Schubert's Mature Instrumental Music, by renowned music theorist David Beach, is an analytical study of selected symphonic, chamber, and solo-piano works written during the last ten years of the composer's short life, beginning with the Trout Quintet (D. 667) and ending with the String Quintet (D. 956).

Each of the chapters in part 1 focuses on a crucial topic: harmony, phrase rhythm, motive, and sonata form. These chapters will be accessible to all musicians and other readers who have some basic training in harmony and form. Part 2 presents detailed analyses of nine fascinating representative movements.

Beach's insights will enrich the listener's experience of what are now recognized as some of the great masterpieces of the early nineteenth century.
David Beach is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Aspects of Unity in J. S. Bach's Partitas and Suites: An Analytical Study, and coeditor of Bach to Brahms: Essays on Musical Design and Structure and Explorations in Schenkerian Analysis, all published by the University of Rochester Press.

Table of Contents

Phrase Rhythm
Sonata Form
Three Scherzo Movements
Two Piano Sonata Movements
Two Quartet Movements
A Slow Movement and a Finale
Epilogue: Thoughts on Schubert's Mature Instrumental Style
Selected Bibliography


Every section under discussion is clearly illustrated with music examples or graphs that highlight the author's command of Schenkerian analytic techniques. Beach sheds light on some of the most radical aspects of [Schubert's] late music, such as structure, formal hybridity, innovative key relationships, formal and tonal organization, motivic and thematic relationships, and his treatment of harmony. His findings are aptly summarized in an epilogue: a short reflection on Schubert's mature style as evidenced in the instrumental works just analyzed. JOURNAL OF AUSTRIAN STUDIES

The detailed attention to phrase rhythm and phrase expansion that this book offers is welcome in Schubert scholarship. Beach provides a nicely nuanced reading of the hypermeter of the first movement of the 'Trout' quintet, with due consideration of points when tonality and timbre destabilise the expected pattern. Students will gain understanding of what makes for onward drive (for example, places where arrival points become departure points, metrically speaking) and also for multi-layered listening in this movement. AD PARNASSUM

It is always welcome when a distinguished music theorist writes a book with a wide readership in mind. The graphic analyses are detailed, numerous, well indexed, and clearly presented, and the Schenkerian graphs alone make the book deserving of detailed inspection. The mode of writing will be attractive to many readers inasmuch as the author takes on a direct-almost conversational-tone. Most the historical question that is touched on in the final pages[: an invitation] to think about the mature Schubert's place as a forerunner to currents in twentieth-century composition that might eventually come to rival the perceived influence exerted on that much later modernist repertory by late Beethoven. MUSIC & LETTERS

Author Bio

David W. Beach is a renowned music analyst and historian of music theory who recently retired as Dean of the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto.

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