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Rethinking Schubert$
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Lorraine Byrne Bodley and Julian Horton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190200107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190200107.001.0001

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The Sensuous as a Constructive Force in Schubert’s Late Works

The Sensuous as a Constructive Force in Schubert’s Late Works

(p.77) 5 The Sensuous as a Constructive Force in Schubert’s Late Works
Rethinking Schubert

Brian Black

Oxford University Press

Schubert’s sensitivity to the sensual quality of sound and its expressive potential is a feature of his music that sets it apart from that of his contemporaries. In Schubert’s vocal and instrumental works, carefully marked sonorities or striking harmonic events emerge not simply as local effects, but as important structural components of the work that bind its various parts together and give it its particular expressive significance. The way in which Schubert employs this material reveals a highly original treatment of form that depends upon allusion, recall and sudden transformation rather than the type of developing variation associated with Beethoven. This aspect of Schubert’s music becomes a powerful force in the masterpieces of his last years. This chapter will examine how the transformations of a single sonority in ‘Ihr Bild’ convey the dramatic flow and expressive content of the lied. It will trace the same process in the Impromptu in G ♭ major, Op. 90/3.

Keywords:   The sensual as a crucial element in the expressive power of Schubert’s late works, ‘Ihr Bild’, Impromptu in G ♭ major, Harmony and sonority, Sonority and transformation

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