René Rusch

Schubert's Four-Key Expositions? Another Look at the Composer's Sonata Form Practice through a Form-Functional Analysis of D575, i, and D667, ii

Among the scholarship on Schubert's approach to sonata form are brief references to movements that appear to contain a four-key exposition. That the very notion of a four-key exposition has not been pursued beyond the modest attention afforded in footnotes and short paragraphs perhaps conveys the extent to which the idea is understood to be peripheral to Schubert's sonata forms, if not questionable under the rubric of certain Formenlehre theories. Yet, as this paper suggests, even these supposed formal outliers can tell us something about Schubert's sonata practice, especially with respect to his three-key expositions.

This paper examines two of Schubert's four-key expositions––Piano Sonata in B major, D575, i (1817) and Piano Quintet in A major, D667, ii (1819; n.b., sonata form without development)––using Caplin's theory of classical form as a point of departure. I discuss the problem of closure in these four-key expositions, and speculate why the composer's three-key expositions represent a viable solution. The paper also considers the broader question as to whether Schubert's formal innovations arose from an effort to expand sonata form archetypes or, emerged instead as a consequence of his experiments with tonality.