From galant style to sentimentalism: with his Three-Part Sinfonias for keyboard instrument, Bach presented a wealth of different affects, endeavouring that the range of expression assigned to different major and minor keys emerge vividly – with expressive sighing figures or playful and effortless inflection. Besides Bach’s compendium of keyboard music, András Schiff will devote himself to Béla Bartók’s Suite op. 14 and his collection Out of Doors, one of the most fascinating programmatic series of works of the 20th century. In it, the most varied images of nature are captured in music, with the Barcarolla referring to Chopin and the now-famous The Night’s Music, while the concluding Chase offers extremely vividly asymmetrical melodic phrases over an inexorable ostinato figure.
Leoš Janáček’s Piano Sonata 1.X.1905 “From the Street”, on the other hand, was written “as a kind of diary” (in the words of Rudolf Firkušný, pianist and Janáček student) in the light of violent clashes between Czechs and adherents of the Habsburg monarchy on 1 October 1905, in the course of which the 20-year old journeyman carpenter František Pavlík was mortally wounded by bayonet by an Austrian soldier: dark clouds already hang over the first movement Foreboding, while the subsequent funeral march traces the whole tragedy in these events. The first movement of Schumann’s First Piano Sonata also seems dark; Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart already attested “deep melancholy” to its key of F sharp minor. After a melancholy aria and a strange Scherzo, the work ends, however, with a real pianistic bravura piece.