Schubert’s Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946 (c. 1828, pub. 1868), raise several questions regarding their compositional genesis and editorial processes. Most peculiar is Schubert’s omission of an entire C section in A♭ major of what was originally to be a five-part rondo form (A–B–A–C–A) in the first piano piece. Scholars have noted this revision, acknowledging Brahms’s role as the anonymous editor of these pieces. Yet why Schubert crossed out this entire section in the manuscript remains unanswered.
Focusing on the first two Klavierstücke, since both occur within the same manuscript and are believed to have been written consecutively, this article explores some possible motivations for Schubert’s removal of the C section from the first piano piece. In particular, the article suggests that, even though the first two pieces originally shared a similar tonal and formal plan, Schubert’s treatment of mixture in the respective opening refrains may have caused him to opt instead for a three-part ternary form for the first piece and a five-part rondo form for the second. The article closes by comparing Schubert’s use of mixture in the first two piano pieces with that of several other works written by the composer around the same time.