Date of Degree
DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)
Most pianists and music scholars consider Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy his most virtuosic piano work. The piece was written in November 1822 when the composer was twenty-five. By that time, Schubert was known for his lieder and some four-hand piano works, which were written in a very lyrical style. In comparison to these works, the Fantasy was written with a demanding technique requiring a richer, orchestral sound. The technical demands of the Wanderer Fantasy at times cause pianists to injure their arms. Even if this does not happen, the instrument, nonetheless, can sound harsh. This type of thick texture may have prompted Robert Schumann's comments in his 1828 review of the Fantasy (M.J.E. Brown, Schubert, A Critical Biography [London: Macmillan & Co., 1958], 124.): Schubert would like, in this work, to condense the whole orchestra into two hands...
This essay will address two main subjects: first, the Fantasy will be considered from an orchestral perspective with reference to Schubert's own symphonic writing; second, this essay will seek to assist the pianist in producing a better sound, as well as avoiding injury. It is this essay's thesis that Schubert, when composing the Wanderer Fantasy, was actually constructing an orchestral plan under the guise of a piano score. In order to analyze Schubert's orchestral writing, this essay will be divided into four chapters. Chapter one will offer the historical background of the Wanderer Fantasy, chapter two will discuss Schubert as a symphonist as well as the Unfinished Symphony, which was written only two weeks before the Fantasy. Chapter three, based on the parallel orchestral elements found in the Unfinished Symphony piano sketch, will discuss the relationship between the piano sketch of the Symphony and the Wanderer Fantasy. Following this comparative analysis, chapter three will also offer practical performance suggestions based on previously discussed orchestral elements for the pianist. Chapter four presents conclusions offered by the author. The conclusions reached in this essay are presented in the hope that they will assist the pianist to achieve a more meaningful performance when performing the Wanderer Fantasy.
Fantasy, performance, piano, Schubert, Wanderer
Copyright 2011 Liang-Fang Chang