To create the illusion of a disarming simplicity and song-like spontaneity, so characteristic of much of Schubert's piano music, requires a kind of concealed virtuosity. This kind of writing is prevalent in both his miniatures as well as in many of the piano sonatas including the mighty last three, published posthumously. The Wanderer-Fantasy, with it's extroverted style and dazzling pianistic brilliance, stands alone and is unique among Schubert's output. It is, too, an extremely tightly-knit work - a kind of theme and transformation - whereby Schubert molds or transforms the character of the recurring thematic and rhythmic motive to meet the musical demands of each movement, thereby creating a work of considerable emotional range, power and eloquence. Robert Jordan-The Piano Fantasy: Some Reflections The Schubert Moments Musicaux is a set of six impeccably tailored short pieces which demonstrate a high degree of thematic development in spite of their relative brevity. Despite the overall consistency of style, the six Moments were not composed as a unit. The third Moment was first published as "Air Russe" in 1823. The sixth Moment was published as "Plainte d' unTroubadour" in 1824. The other four were composed during 1827. They were gathered together by Schubert's publisher in 1828, and issued under the title "Moments Musicaux". The Moments Musicaux readily illustrate how Schubert's mastery of the song form carried over into his piano composition. All six Moments have memorable, song-like melodies of a very distinct quality. Each conveys a mood and an emotional character as surely as if they had words. It does not appear, however, that Schubert had a particular "program" in mind while composing them. Nevertheless, it is not at all difficult to envision the opening theme as the call of a hunting horn, and the first Moment as a whole as a musing on nature. The second Moment begins with an almost hymn-like simplicity, contrasting yet eventually blending with the romantic wistfulness of the second theme. The brief third Moment has emerged as the most familiar of the six pieces throughout the years, thanks to it's bouncing rhythm and appealing Eastern European-flavored melody. The first theme of the fourth Moment features ear-catching interplay between the left and right hands, which contrasts effectively with a more lyrical middle section. The fifth Moment is also brief, but is by far the most dramatic of the six. The last Moment has a yearning, nostalgic quality which is thoroughly captivating. Robert Schumann's Second Piano Sonata, published in 1839, may be taken as representative of what might be termed the restlessly confessional nature of the composer. The Sonata is a highly emotional, richly expressive work, generating a palpable excitement at times, conveying a passionate melancholy in other passages. This unabashed display of emotions invests the music with an undeniable power to sway the listener, even though musicologists have perceived the work as somewhat lacking from a purely emotional viewpoint. Be that as it may, the Sonata vividly depicts the agitated emotional state of the composer during this period of his troubled life. The first movement, dating from 1833, is particularly impassioned with it's markings of "as fast as possible," "faster," and "faster still," it requires a skillful interpretation (such as the one presented here) to keep it from running away unchecked. The second movement was originally composed in 1828 as a song, "I'm Herbste" ("In the Autumn"). In it's present arrangement, it retains a song-like simplicity, as it weaves a melodic spell as pensively sad as it is beautiful. The short third movement, also from 1833, is more exuberant, yet leaves room in the middle for more thoughtful probings. The fourth movement-composed in 1838 as a replacement for the original finale, a Presto which was rejected by Clara Schumann as being "too difficult" - can be taken as a summation and expansion of all the passions expressed in the first three movements. Not only is it the strongest of the four structurally, it surges with an emotional power ranging from melancholia to sheer exhilaration. Tom Bingham.