Home > Uncategorized > Schubert – Impromptu No.1 in C Minor (played by Jandó)

Schubert – Impromptu No.1 in C Minor (played by Jandó)


During my gap year I had a girlfriend who was (and still is) extremely talented at just about anything she gets her hands on. Musically, not only a harpist and a singer but also a pianist, she rattled off this impromptu by Schubert one day when I was at her house.

I was gobsmacked. Firstly what a piece. Secondly, my egotistical side couldn’t handle the thought that she could play such a challenging piece. It might not sound very difficult, but the fingering and musicianship required to bring out the melody at some points are so tough. Plus it is 9 minutes long. I wanted to be better than her at the piano – it was what I was going to study at uni for goodness sake! She was off to study Modern Languages and she still plays ridiculously difficult piano pieces.

So I spent my first year at uni practicing it, taking it to my wacky piano teacher (in this video you can actually see the music to this piece. Just noticed…) who would help me get it up to scratch. I realised I’m just not as good as her. She probably learnt it in a week whereas it took me about 6 months.

…But I did it! I played it well enough to get a 1st in the exam and I was overjoyed. I rung her up to tell her that I could play it, but by this point our level of contact had become pretty much non- existent due to reasons that were completely my fault, and she essentially wasn’t bothered. Not that she knows how hard I spent practicing the piece and why I learnt it. Maybe she’d have been more interested if I told her.

This piece is so self-contained. So final. An epic piece which has extremely happy and extremely dark bits. A film I can compare it to is Love Exposure – a 4 and a half hour epic which goes through every genre. Meticulously done, everyone has to see it.

It’s the climax onto an Ab major chord at 5:05/06 which I love (but not played very well on this recording – it should sing out a lot more). All of Schubert’s passion poured into that chord which is repeated at 5:15/16. The build-up is amazing with the left hand repeating some fierce chords from 4:58. I also love the key and dynamic change from 5:24- 5:30; a big contrast to the previous heavy section.

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  1. Jon James
    March 19, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    I cant even remember exactly what a piano looks like, that’s how good I am at playing it. So yes to me it sounds difficult. Still I can hear each intuitive finger striking each note and how it escalates, its a fantastic piece. Year 1 of uni I learnt how to identify a rock, congratulations on learning this!

  2. March 29, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    Your post is very interesting. Great blog.

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