Five Temperaments
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Every lover of Schubert treasures the late Fantasie for violin & piano; but the work is a bit of a Cinderella: long, very awkward to play ( for the violin especially), and a mixture of the seraphically inspired with the frankly humdrum, even perfunctory. I had long wished to "do" something with it/for it, and a wonderful live performance back in 2013 at last precipitated action.

Silvered Schubert is the result: this title - by analogy with my Gilded Goldbergs of the 1990s (also for 2 pianos) - isn't merely alliterative (let alone facetious): it describes the approach to the original throughout the entire venture.

Schubert's shimmering Opening is, of course, silveriness embodied! This Opening, and most of the ensuing allegro, remain relatively unscathed: what follows them deviates further and further - though always, I believe, in the spirit of Schubert, if rarely the letter.

His Variations on his early song Sei mir gegrüßt are both elided & expanded, intensified, gilded as well as silvered; and an entirely new one in the minor is added. The return of the Opening is now made the core of the whole structure: it precipitates a Finale longer and weightier than that of the rumtum original: the extra variation on Sei mir gegrüßt makes a climax rather than a disappointment by including the song's second strain, unused by its actual composer here or earlier; and the tone is shadowed by the gradual incorporation of another celebrated early song, Death & the Maiden - the cue being the rhythmic figure it shares with that of the Fantaisie's finale.

After this double song-episode the concluding presto (where one can sense that the composer was running out of steam) is extended from 36 to 144 bars that attempt to tie in all the previous threads before the concluding rush to the finishing -line.

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