Having produced two highly regarded discs of solo works by Brahms, Barry Douglas, an exclusive Chandos artist, now embarks on the complete solo piano works by Franz Schubert. This first volume features two large-scale works, the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy and the Sonata in B flat major, alongside two Schubert songs transcribed by Liszt.
The ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy draws material from Schubert’s song ‘Der Wanderer’, a setting of a poem about an alienated traveller whom fate dealt a wretched hand and who sees himself ‘a stranger everywhere’. The fantasy genre allowed Schubert freedom from conventional formal structures and the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy is unpredictable and extrovert. The Sonata in B flat on the other hand is a much more inward-looking piece. Unlike many other pieces by Schubert it bears no dedication to a particular performer and was likely written purely for his private satisfaction. Composed in 1828, it is one of his so-called three ‘Last Sonatas’, works considered among his most important masterpieces. Completing the disc are transcriptions by Liszt of two contrasting songs by Schubert. Liszt preserves Schubert’s vocal line and a sense of religious devotion in Du bist die Ruh, and under Liszt’s treatment Ungeduld becomes a vehicle for speed and agility.