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Of the so-called “Viennese masters,” only Schubert was actually born and raised in that city. Surprisingly, this composer of more than 600 art songs, or Lieder, and numerous sonatas for piano did not, for most of his life, own a piano. A great deal of composing was done at a writing table and revised later at a borrowed piano in the home of a friend.
Schubert left the largest number of piano duets and four-hand works of all the great composers. His Rondo, D. 951, dates from 1828, the last year of his life. An Allegretto quasi andantino opens the Rondo accompanied by quiet 16th notes. A second theme links two sections together, introducing a development with two important melodic lines. After a brief return to the opening material, a characteristic third theme is introduced and expanded, based on the upbeat of the Rondo and, above it, broken chords in staccato triplets. Following a brief intermezzo, the original theme returns to the hands of the second player, with the first now accompanying.
-- Notes by Ileen Zovluck; © 1998 and 2001, Columbia Artists Management, Inc.