21 Sep What Schubert’s Piano Sonata in D, D850 means to me, and why I came to record the work in ‘Liaison’:
What Schubert’s Piano Sonata in D, D850 means to me, and why I came to record the work in ‘Liaison’:
When I first heard Schubert’s Sonata in D major, D850, as a young musician, I was going through a painful path of questioning myself almost in all directions. I decided to stay in my flat over Christmas in a student building ( it was totally empty as you can imagine), and I wanted to see no one. I don’t know how many times I played this Sonata during this period from the CD player.
There was nothing but me and this Sonata in a deserted building. I couldn’t let go of the second movement that has remained as a prayer to me ever since: A prayer to life. It all seemed so dark and hopeless, and I couldn’t see any light up to this point, but soon, I was overwhelmed by gratitude and beauty through this Sonata. The last movement is the intimate celebration of all this for me: celebration of life. Schubert chose to make a gentle conclusion instead of a grand climax. There are so many exquisite sonatas Schubert wrote that have sublime moments of beauty. This D Major Sonata, however, has lived with me since that Christmas holiday as a reminder of the gift of life.
In Schubert’ life: It is not an exaggeration to say that the long summer holiday of 1825 was the happiest period of Schubert’s short life as he described it as, ‘truly heavenly’ written in one of his letters while holidaying in Gmunden. Schubert believed he was cured from syphilis as he was enjoying a symptom-free period ( until this point, he was suffering from aching bones, a debilitated left arm which prevented him from playing the piano, and chronic anxiety). From Gmundan, Schubert travelled to Linz, Steyr, Kremsmunster, Salzburg. Finally, he arrived in Bad Gastein in August 1825, well known for its scenic environment, and it is where Schubert wrote this D Major Sonata, D850, and continued to work on his ‘Great’ C major Symphony.