Impromptus op. 90 and op. 142Alfred Brendel
These short compositions, like improvised thoughts or solitary meditations, are dominated by a feeling of sadness, of nostalgia. Yet in Schubert’s music there is always an irreducible positivity, a trace of hope which gives form and meaning to what he is saying, a positivity more sensed and demanded by reason and the heart than the result of a pacified possession. In communicating the most intimate of what he possesses, Schubert is so serious with his own humanity and his own desire that he cannot avoid grasping the openness to the Eternal that the heart suggests. Though for him it is not the object of possession in the present, it is all the same the acknowledged object of his desire and expectation. He approaches the Mystery as if on tip-toe, as if not deeming himself worthy of it.
Schubert’s greatness lies precisely in this continuous dialogue with the Mystery. It is a dialogue that has perhaps a concrete hint or a precise face as its point of departure; but this is at once transformed into a You, which hovers on the infinite horizon.
(Excerpt from the introduction by Luigi Giussani to the booklet enclosed in the CD)