The Full Works Concert - Friday 2 August: Schubert

Great Composers Month continues on the Full Works Concert with three spectacular works from the genius that was Franz Schubert.

During a career lasting less than 20 years, Franz Schubert (1797-1828) produced a torrent of work, including operas and symphonies; 600 songs; overtures and masses; string quartets, quintets and an octet; 20 piano sonatas; and some 50 choral works. Tonight, Jane Jones highlights three of his greatest works - for full scale orchestra, solo piano and string quartet respectively.

As a 19-year old in Vienna, Schubert began both a law degree and composing his Symphony No.5. This might well have been the work that prompted the composer to drop out of studying law. It is the perfect piece for anyone who wants to get into his music – fresh, light, full of youthful exuberance and bursting with melodies. Tonight we hear it played by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major is one of the last written by the composer, filled with the profound feelings of a man who appears to have known he did not have long for this world. Tonight's beautifully articulated performance by Leif Ove Andsnes delivers all the passion but with warmth and sweetness.

The String Quartet in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden' is one of the great, indispensable works of the chamber music repertoire. Composed in 1824, after the composer realized that he was dying, it is Schubert's testament to death. The work takes its name from a song which he wrote in 1817, the theme of which forms the basis of the second movement. The quartet has appeared as incidental music in several films including the Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich version of Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady.

Schubert: Symphony No.5 in B flat major
Charles Mackerras conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Schubert: Piano Sonata in A major
Piano: Leif Ove Andsnes

Schubert: String Quartet in D minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’
Takacs Quartet