Schubert - Piano Sonatas & Impromptus | ECM New Series 4817252

Schubert - Piano Sonatas & Impromptus

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Label: ECM New Series

Cat No: 4817252

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 12th April 2019



In the latest chapter in Sir András Schiff’s ongoing documentation of Franz Schubert’s music, the great pianist plays the Four Impromptus, D899, and compositions from 1828, the last year of Schubert’s too-brief life: the Three Pieces, D946 (“impromptus in all but name” notes Misha Donat in the CD booklet), the C minor Sonata, D958, and the A major Sonata, D959.

Schiff again chooses to use his fortepiano made by Franz Brodmann in Vienna, around 1820. “It is to me ideally suited to Schubert’s keyboard works,” he has said. “There is something quintessentially Viennese in its timbre, its tender mellowness, its melancholic cantabilita.”

Critics have agreed, unanimous also in their praise of Schiff’s interpretations: “I cannot think of anyone of his calibre who has mastered the fortepiano as well as the modern piano and shown such distinction on both,” wrote Stephen Plaistow in Gramophone. “In Schubert Schiff has a claim to be considered sovereign among today’s players, carrying forward the reading and interpretation of him into areas that others have not fully explored.”

Among other accolades, the first volume of Schiff’s exploration of Schubert on fortepiano was ‘Recording of the Month’ in both BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone, ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Classical Music magazine and International Piano’s ‘Choice’.



Schiff is essentially a more private, less Beethovenian exponent than his principal fortepiano rival, Andreas Staier, and he cultivates a more pronouncedly ‘olden’ timbre. Both pianists are generous in their application of the sustaining pedal but Schiff’s instrument seems to have more distinct registers and variety of timbre. So if you are allergic to the fortepiano, perhaps Staier offers an easier transition; but if your concern is for emotional Schubertian truth, uniquely illuminated, Schiff’s new discs are boundlessly rewarding.  Michelle Assay
Gramophone June 2019
... thanks to this historic piano, Schiff’s playing seems to have lost the fussiness that was sometimes a feature of his interpretations of these works, as if he can now trust the character of the instrument itself to make the expressive points he wants. It’s all much more direct; this is a magnificent, endlessly fascinating pair of discs.  Andrew Clements
The Guardian 11 April 2019
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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