Franz Schubert

Moments musicaux (6) for piano, D. 780 (Op. 94)

    Description by Blair Johnston

    The title Six Moments musicaux (D. 780) was not Schubert's own and is perhaps inappropriate. One might reasonably conclude that these are not really "moments" of music at all, as some of the six pieces last more than five or six minutes. When considering that the original publisher's title was the horrible grammatical calamity Momens musicals, the idea that Schubert might have come up with or even approved the title becomes wholly unbelievable. However, by July 1828, when the 6 Moments musicaux were published, Schubert was in no position to argue such matters -- not only was he absolutely destitute, he was also fighting a losing battle for his very life.

    The Moments musicaux were composed during 1827 and 1828, the third and last pieces, which were written during 1823 and 1824, excepted. Each is composed in a sectional form and many are dances of some kind. No. 1 in C major is a minuet in the absolute abstract, meaning that, just as with a Chopin waltz, the music transcends all human footwork. The trio section rolls forward on wheels of seamless triplets.

    The second Moments musicaux is an Andantino in A flat major, taking the shape of a gentle five-part rondo. The sparkling, dotted, homophonic, sicilienne-like rhythms in the opening music give way to pure melody and accompaniment in the form of regular left-hand arpeggiations in the F sharp minor B sections. The third piece was composed back in 1823. It has something of an Eastern European tang to it, and as a result the publisher originally tacked the label "Air Russe" to it.

    There is something of Bach about the fortspinnung-like fourth piece, a Moderato in C sharp minor. It unfolds in the major mode in the middle portion, where any such reference to the minor is lost within a pianissimo dream world of richly textured syncopations that somehow seem to make reference to Johannes Brahms a decade before he was even born.

    More purely Schubertian is the Allegro vivace in F minor that follows, an athletic piece of equestrian rhythms. It is composed in as textbook a rounded binary form as one might imagine.

    The final piece of D. 780 is an Allegretto in A flat major that returns to the otherworldly minuet variety of the first piece. Schubert plays with listeners' harmonic expectations in the cleverest and most moving of ways. A move to E major during the second half of the minuet-proper (as opposed to the trio section) sounds somehow full of resignation; the modulation back to A flat a few measures later is absolutely heartwarming. During the codetta that precedes the trio section, Schubert teases with hints of A major/E major, but, in a startling move, snaps straight into A flat minor -- and since this opening section of music is repeated verbatim after the trio, it is in this bleakest of minor modes that the piece ends.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Moderato in C major
    2. Andantino in A flat major
    3. Allegro moderato in F minor
    4. Moderato in C sharp minor
    5. Allegro vivace in F minor
    6. Allegretto in A flat major

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Audite 97704
    2018 Challenge Classics CC 72791
    2018 Chandos CHAN 10990
    2017 APR (Appian) APR 7402
    2017 Hänssler Classic HC 16062
    2017 Meridian Records CDE 84644
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 0028947980
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797371
    2016 Centaur Records CRC 3476
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796187
    2016 Urania / Urania Records WS 121223
    2016 Ondine ODE 12852
    2016 Warner Classics 554930
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4795545
    2015 ECM / ECM New Series 4811572
    2015 ICSM ICSM 003
    2015 Sony Classical 88875051562
    2015 Danacord DACOCD 769
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Decca B002050602
    2014 Decca
    2014 Onyx Classics ONYX 4136
    2014 CPO 7777662
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Connoisseur Society CS 4275
    2013 Genuin GEN 13289
    2013 Claves 501213
    2013 Decca
    2013 Quartz QTZ 2093
    2012 Adrian Aeschbacher KASP57671
    2012 Camerata Records CAM 28232
    2012 ECM
    2012 ECM New Series 4764580
    2012 Harmonia Mundi HMC 90213637
    2012 Melodiya MELCD 1002064
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Documents 233079
    2011 Alto ALC1115
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Fleur de Son FDS57993
    2011 Elite Special / Zebralution
    2011 Decca
    2011 Decca 4783018
    2011 Decca 4782622
    2010 Decca 4782340
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca
    2010 Decca
    2010 Capriccio Records 5028
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926506
    2009 Documents / Membrane 231055
    2009 Avie 2157
    2009 Gramola 98824
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Erato
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099969448
    2009 Brilliant Classics 92770
    2009 Haenssler 98298
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 Centaur Records 2913
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 Avi 8553064
    2008 Landscape Classics / Zebralution
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 459412
    2008 PentaTone Classics 5186329
    2008 ABC Classics 4766479
    2008 Ars Produktion 38470
    2008 Newport Classic 60175/2
    2008 Brilliant 93673
    2008 Berlin Classics 184482
    2008 Thorofon Classics / Zebralution
    2008 DA Records / Zebralution
    2008 Melodiya 1000734
    2008 Brilliant 93761
    2007 EMI Classics 5034232
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 385853
    2007 MSR Classics 1204
    2007 Decca 4758542
    2007 Parlophone
    2006 Philips 473926
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99798
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 2908201
    2006 Philips 4757497
    2006 Philips 475 7947
    2006 Archipel / Archipel Records 0342
    2006 EMI Classics 347826
    2005 Music & Arts 1175
    2005 Decca 4756786
    2005 Andante 2110
    2005 Decca
    2005 Decca 000567802
    2005 Arbiter ARBITER145
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 86829
    2005 Sony Music Distribution 5170042
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Channel Classics 20705
    2004 Philips 000410402
    2004 EMI Classics 62818
    2004 Bridge 9153
    2004 Brilliant 92394
    2003 Archipel 133
    2003 Gallo 1103
    2003 Fleur de Son 57953
    2003 Intim Musik 089
    2003 Virgin 562233
    2003 Budapest Music Center BMC 084
    2003 Classic Collection 99850
    2003 Philips 470603
    2002 Philips 470164
    2002 Divine Art 1203
    2001 Nimbus 1739
    2001 Tudor Records 741/43
    2001 Arion 68508
    2001 Ivory Records 72002
    2000 RCA / RCA Red Seal 75523
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 901697
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469 196-2GP2
    2000 Cypres Records 1621
    2000 Angel Records 61797
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 67494
    2000 Analekta 24011-7
    2000 Delta / Delta Distribution 31073
    2000 Hungaroton Echo Collection 1039
    2000 Decca 458608
    2000 Nosag Records 025
    1999 Philips 456925
    1999 Philips 456712
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 4151182
    1999 Philips 456895
    1999 London 443570
    1999 Philips 432987
    1999 Music & Arts 267
    1998 Bella Musica / Thorofon 2385
    1998 Decca 4177852
    1998 London 458139
    1997 Vox 3041
    1997 Deutsche Grammophon 453674
    1997 Pearl 9272
    1997 Testament 1145
    1997 Philips 456 061-2PM2
    1997 Decca
    1997 Carlton Classics 01832
    1997 Erato 17869
    1996 Melodiya 40116
    1996 Dinemec 002
    1996 Bridge 9070
    1996 Connoisseur Society CD4209
    1996 Lydian 18134
    1996 Hyperion 67091/2
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 55219
    1996 Arte Nova 39120
    1996 Opus 111 OPS30-139
    1996 Philips 446920
    1995 Tacet 046
    1995 Virgin 61161
    1995 Athene 00072
    1995 Telarc Distribution 80369
    1995 Orfeo 332931
    1994 Naxos 550259
    1993 Canla Grande 9213
    1992 Astree 7763
    1992 Vox 3011
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 64259
    1992 Nimbus 5293
    1989 London 417785
    1989 Philips Classics 422076
    1989 Decca
    1989 Philips 426 128-2PH7
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 4277692
    Grammofono 2000 789/90
    Stereophile 5
    Stereophile 005
    Melodiya 7432140120
    The Piano Library 301
    Intercord Klassische Diskothek 830804
    Canal Grande 0492
    Isis Records 03
    EMI Music Distribution 49793
    Arabesque 6573
    Dinemec 014
    Fone 970102
    Virgin 59288
    Theorema 121187
    Arkadia 921
    Lyrinx 80
    MCA 9844
    The Piano Library 905833
    Supraphon 110939
    Adda 241912
    Denon Records 74499
    Brilliant 93673/19
    Brilliant Classics 99798/3
    Brilliant 92394/19
    Arion 40700
    London 417642
    Town Hall 69
    Tudor Records 740
    Et'Cetera / EtCetera Records 1333
    MCA 29844
    Vox 5122
    Edicions Albert Moraleda