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Composed the year before Schuberts death the two sets of Impromptus D 899 and 935 exemplify Schuberts late piano style Most noted for their tonal remoteness and structural deviance Schuberts last pieces have attracted much of scholars interpretive efforts in recent years Like several other scholars Charles Fisk recognises a connection between Schuberts late instrumental style and his song cycle entitled Winterreise treating the latter as a turning point in Schuberts composerly being that holds a particular ethos As Fisk describes this connection Winterreise is a cycle without a centre spinning slowly out into a frozen wasteland but many of the instrumental pieces that follow Winterreise are returning cycles Their beginnings often suggest searching or wandering but ultimately these compositions fulfil their quest and restore to their wanderer a sense of self-possession and belongingFisks metaphor of searching or wandering suggests what can be characterised as a non-teleological musical narrative that leads to a permeating sense of loss in Schuberts late music For Fisk unlike in Winterreise however Schubert compensated this sense of loss in his late instrumental works with a recollection of earlier material The recollective mode of Schuberts late style has been realised in terms of musical memory in recent scholarship Fisks quote thus brings forward two major scholarly threads in recent reception of Schuberts late style which will be the focus of this essay the wandering narrative and musical memoryWhile Schubert scholarship in the past three decades has already been concerned with the narrative quality of the composers late instrumental style very little exploration has been made in the field of temporal relations between the musical events The lack of literature is largely due to the assumption that the standard narrative structure unfolds a story linearly from beginning middle to end In this essay I shall challenge this assumption of linearity and investigate the construction of multiple temporal dimensions in Schuberts late instrumental style as exemplified in a case studythe Impromptu in C
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