The Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano - Trio no. 1 for Piano, Violin, and Cello in B flat major, op. 99

M. Rostropovich, B. Britten, V. Aškenazij, P. Zukerman, L. Harrell
Franz SchubertDecca 2001

When I listen to Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano, I cannot help hoping that the progress of each man along his life journey may reach the same perfection of expression – harmonic and melodic – as this masterpiece possesses.
It is rare to hear a more beautiful and more fully achieved piece of music than this composition. The music, so intensely full and vibrant with sweetness, unfolds discreetly, making no attempt to impress, accepting to be born out of what it is, as though obeying something other than the flow of the composer’s thoughts and feelings. And right here in this obedience, in the loving pursuit of a deeper relationship with what is given, Schubert discovers Mystery and approaches perfection.
Thus, the composer’s course becomes a metaphor for human experience. Each of us was made so that what God asks of our life – life as vocation – may reach a perfection of harmony and melody. Of what can joy be born, if not this obedience? Because harmony is an obedience; on the plane of freedom, of intelligence and of love, harmony is an obedience. Whoever recognizes what he was made for, whoever desires perfection for his life, asks for it, follows it, obeys it. Indeed, what is the second movement of this Sonata, if not an impassioned and tenacious entreaty?
I imagine Shubert striving for beauty and perfection in what he was writing, open to the true and beautiful. What human attitude reveals this openness, which is, as well, the only way to know truly? Above all else, wonder. Wonder is the gaze of contemplation, it is the consequence of the only way of truly embracing a fact, an event, an encounter. “Concepts create idols, only wonder knows,” said Gregory of Nyssa, a great Father of the early Church. For it is only by embracing the true and beautiful that our personality is constructed. Personality is given by a consciousness of the goal, by a judgment about things, by the consciousness of the relationship of things with the goal, and by freedom as adherence, as energy that makes us adhere to the goal of our action. Every time we are reminded to listen to the Arpeggione, let’s try to identify with the accomplished genius of Schubert, in the hope that, in the same way, the development of our personality may reach the perfection of expression to which it is called.

(from introdution by Luigi Giussani - excerpt from the booklet enclosed in the CD)