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Just after he wrote ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, Schubert wrote his Impromptu No.3. Absolute nonsense, of course. Although if you listen to the chords of Schubert’s Impromptu No.2, you’ll hear that they follow the same progression – admittedly a fairly common one – as those from the classic 1950s song.
They were both part of a set of four written just a year before Schubert died – and at around the same time as he was composing his masterpiece Die Winterreise (‘The Winter Journey’).
Letters from around the time show that Schubert’s music was being infused with ever more melancholia, sometimes to his friends’ distaste. He was forced to write to one colleague, ‘I like these songs more than all the others and you will get to like them too.’ Good for him. It was remarkable that, knowing the extent of his illness, he was able to write at all, let alone continue to lead his life in the way he did. One of his companions, Franz von Hartmann, commented at this time in his notes that "every Wednesday and Saturday evening we go to the alehouse, where Enk, Schober, Schubert and Spaun can be found".
Murray Perahia (piano). Sony: sK94732.