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Thread: Schubert: Notturno D. 897

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    Super User Bernard's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Schubert: Notturno D. 897

    Artist: Christoph Eschenbach, Rudolf Koeckert, Josef Merz
    Title: Schubert "Notturno" D. 897
    Year of Release: Unknown
    Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon
    Genre: Classical

    About 20 years ago I picked up an LP called "Nana Classical". It was by Nana Mouskouri, and had a bunch of songs set to classical music, some songs I suspect not by the original composer. One song in particular, "Only Time Will Tell", caught my attention. I really liked the melody, which was credited to Schubert, one of my favourite composers (second only to Beethoven, in my opinion), and the words were very passionate, singing of possibilities and being free to love.

    I liked it so much that I wanted a recording of it by classical musicians. My local record store could not find a recording (this was before we could find anything and everything (almost!) on the Internet), so I looked for it in every record store I came across, in every city I visited. I looked for it for about two years, without any luck.

    And then, one sunny Saturday afternoon in Montreal I found it in a used record store. It was in good condition, to boot. I took it home, cleaned it, and put it on the turntable.

    It was all that I had hoped for. It is a trio for piano, violin, and cello. It starts slowly on the piano, then joined by the violin, and then the cello, building up slowly to the passion I was expecting, based upon the words. If anything, the instrumental version is even more passionate than the vocal, if that is possible. In the music you sense the hope, the desperation, and the longing. The music then winds down till it ends calmy. It is truly remarkable.

    Subsequent to that I came across 4 other recordings of the music (all used), all of which I bought. They are by the Beaux Arts Trio, the Suk Trio, the Weiner Trio, and by Jorg Demus et al. None of these versions come close to the original that I found, in that the musicians seem to play the music without emotion; they seem to play it "en passant". I am not a trained musician, so I cannot say which is right based upon the score; in any case composers always gave somewhat vague directions as to tempi, etc. The music is supposed to be a nocturne, so perhaps passion is not appropriate.

    I have made much ado about a very brief piece of music. It takes about one-third of one side of an LP, but is definitely worth looking for; it is coupled with Schubert's "Trout". Do not bother with other versions.

    On a subsequent visit to that same used record store, I found two more copies of the LP I liked so much. I bought both, one of which I gave to a favourite outlaw, and the second is my backup copy.

    Did I say I LOVE this piece of music?
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    Last edited by Bernard; 03-17-2009 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Fix typo

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