Editions Harpiana Publications: Classics Revisited

Editions Harpiana Publications:
Classics Revisited

Cover Image Impromptu in A Flat Major (#2)
from Four Impromptus D935, Opus Post. 142

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Transcribed for harp and edited by Dominique Piana

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The set of Four Impromptus D 935 was written in December 1827 and intended by Schubert as a sequel to an earlier set, the Impromptus D 899. This D 935 set was published posthumously by Diabelli in 1839. In these pieces, as in his other works, the master of the lied stays true to classical form. Some commentators, including Schumann, have even argued that the Impromptus were actual sonata movements. Then again, they can also be easily recognized as "songs without words."

The beloved Impromptu in A Flat starts out like a slow minuet followed by a contrasting trio in D flat written entirely with arpeggiated figures. Musically, the Allegretto begins wistfully, then becomes progressively more declamatory, while always maintaining the characteristic Schubertian sense of yearning. The rippling, flowing, but agitated trio builds a huge climax, whose dynamic and harmonic crescendo demands a matching tempo increase, to be relaxed upon the cadence before the return of the theme (in this version, two measures after the return to the key of D flat). Adding to the drama is the unusual rhythmic pattern (in both minuet and trio sections) that accentuates the second beat in 3/4 time.

Even though the Impromptu in G Flat from the first set has historically attracted more attention as a possible fit for the harp, I have long felt drawn to this particular Impromptu for its deep emotional resonance. To successfully transcribe it for the harp, I had to rewrite whole passages atonally, given the heavy modulations occurring in the middle section. Let your ear be your guide. It may look "wrong" because of all the enharmonics, but it sounds "right." Furthermore, in the chordal sections framing the piece, it is important to muffle the lowest pitch from one chord to the next to maintain a clear harmonic discourse. After years of experimentation on this very piece, I believe it to be worth the effort: my goal was to bring the legacy of its rich musical substance to the harp world.

This transcription is based on the Wiener Urtext Edition UT 50001 by Paul Badura-Skoda as published by Schott/Universal Edition

Dominique Piana

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Library Information

Title: Impromptu in A Flat Major (#2)
from Four Impromptus D935, Opus Post. 142
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Arranger: Transcribed for harp and edited by Dominique Piana
Instrumentation: Harp
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Format: Harp Part stapled
Size: 11" x 8.5" (US Letter)
ISMN: Not issued
Our Ref: DP003
Publisher: Editions Harpiana Publications
Series: Classics Revisited
Edition/Year: 2004
Origin: USA