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  4. The 50 greatest Schubert recordings (12222 update)

Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In this true story, the entire legend will unravel right before your eyes. You will need to read this story to find out what really happened more than sixty years ago in the small town of Pond Bank, PA. This is a book for all ages. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , 28 pages. More Details Other Editions 1.

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. All Languages. More filters. The finale has that tricky balance of sufficient momentum, humour and also a sense of wonder. Uchida is strikingly dreamy here but less unerring as a travel companion. Brendel, on the other hand, reminds us above all that wit is an essential ingredient in this movement. Schubert of course famously struggled with the sonata, as the many torsos littered along the way attest.

The late G major Sonata, D written in late , only months after that other extraordinary G major work, the last string quartet is equally impressive. The G flat Impromptu is simply ravishing. Oh, and the recording itself is unobtrusively fine too. These performances were recorded live at a Queen Elizabeth Hall recital. Free from the confines of the studio, Cooper rises to the occasion with performances that show a courageous advance on her already distinguished work. This is true, most strikingly, in the great penultimate A major Sonata, D The catalogue may be filled to the brim with oustanding discs of this epic work Schnabel, Kempff, Brendel, Kovacevich, Lupu and Paul Lewis, to name but six yet few more deeply charged or felt performances now exist on record.

Everything is weighted with greater drama and significance than before. Cooper wrings every expressive ounce from the massive opening Allegro and the result is movingly personal rather than overbearing or idiosyncratic. Elsewhere nothing is taken for granted and every musical shadow, whether passing or engulfing, is acutely registered, whether in the magical close to Variation 3 in D, the subtle inflections of a true artist in the following flow of ideas and the fluency and tonal finesse in the windswept finale.

Her desire to avoid an undue or cloying romanticism sees her moving swiftly through the con moto of the D major Sonata. Always you sense how the influences of her fellow musicians, of Brendel and Holzmair in particular, have now been subsumed into a vision entirely her own. Finely recorded. In the s and s, Artur Schnabel, and that too little known pianist Eduard Erdmann more or less single-handedly staged a revival of interest in Schubert's late piano sonatas.

Alfred Brendel has recalled how Schnabel was perhaps the first pianist to give the A major Sonata, D its due, adding: ''Even today, his recording transmits the freshness of an exhilarating discovery''. The pioneering recording none the less retains a good deal of its old freshness and authority despite some occasionally fallible execution. In a way, we are more in need, even now, of a proselytising approach to the D major Sonata, D Schnabel's performance is predictably fine in the long slow movement but there are exaggerations elsewhere, not least his mannered way with the rhythms of the Scherzo.

By contrast, the Moments musicaux are treated with real intimacy and masterly insight — what, in a slightly different context, SP once called playing that is 'un-charming but touched deeply with tenderness and passion'. As for Schnabel's classic recording of Schubert's last piano sonata, that in B flat D, this has long been regarded as one of the Great Recordings of the Century. It is doubtful whether Schnabel ever played better than this on record or whether the interpretation has been surpassed in its comprehensive grasp of the issues that lie at the heart of this music.

The recording is generally very good for its day. Schnabel's account of D is a necessary acquisition for any representative collection of piano music on record. Since those dark times a wealth of great pianists have come forward to give them their due, led by such pioneering spirits as Schnabel, Edward Erdmann and Kempff. No other pianist has communicated Schubert with a greater sense of his final transcendence of earthly pain and travail.

These words are revealing and characteristic of a blessedly controversial genius whose play of light and shade and poetic charisma colour every page, whether freely experimental or ideally structured. For some his otherworldliness makes him insufficiently bold or confrontational in, say, the elemental uproar at the heart of the Andantino from the A major Sonata. He is far less trenchant or speculative than, say, Gilels in the D major Sonata, D, and yet invariably his range of colour and nuance erase even a lingering sense of Gemutlichkeit , of great music played down to domestic proportions.

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The first movement of the B flat Sonata is surely among the most subtle and haunting of all Schubert interpretations, the sing-a-song-of-sixpence finale of the D major Sonata a marvel of teasing wit and inwardness. Even as you long, overall, for a higher degree of drama and intensity, you are simultaneously made aware of a pianist who brought an Apollonian grace to even the fiercest Dionysian pages of Beethoven and who, arguably, found his truest voice in Schubert.


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Pollini, on the other hand, is a wanderer in a transparent ether of crystalline light, and both these legendary performances, recorded in and beautifully remastered, are of a transcendental vision and integrity. The opening Moderato is sempre energico indeed, its central Etwas langsamer so sensitively and precisely gauged that all possible criticism is silenced. This is something very special. Each Impromptu has a rare sense of in-teg-rity and entirety, born of acute observation and long-pondered responses.

Or an Andante just slow, just nonchalant enough for the Rosamunde theme of the D B flat major to give each variation space and breath enough to sing out its own sharply defined character. The Allegretto, D, acts as a Pause between the two discs, a resting place, as it were, for reflection and inner assessment on this long journey.


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The paradox of these unself-regarding performances is how unmistakably they speak and sing out Pires and her unique musicianship. To draw comparisons here would be not so much odious as to miss the point. Yes, that long. If only certain other artists could be so forbearing. Zimerman, quite simply, sounds like no one else. Add to that the recording, made in the Performing Arts Centre in Kashiwazaki, a hall rebuilt after the earthquake of , and you have the ideal circumstances for some very courageous Schubert. Every element of these two sonatas has been thought out, considered; in the hands of a lesser artist the results could have been pernickety but instead they tend towards the transcendent.

Take the second movement of the A major Sonata, D Just listen to the accompaniment, the way that the minutest of shifts in terms of touch recolours it. And then there are the gradations of colour, of dynamic. Nothing is ever fixed, but living, breathing. He is much more controlled than some in the cataclysmic chords — passionate, yes, but less overtly desperate; some may not agree with this, but within the context of his reading of the movement, it works.

As Zimerman leads back to the opening material, the sense of the initial music being scarred by what has happened is searing. Again, some might want a more simply flowing account but Zimerman holds you in thrall, suspends reality just as surely as Richter did though in utterly different ways. The instrument comes into its own where the music builds to climaxes without ever losing clarity in the bass. And rather than emphasising the contrasts of the Trio, Zimerman instead draws parallels between it and the Scherzo.

The perfection with which he weights the closing chords is another heart-stopping moment. It is a journey of great intensity. Enough words from me: the playing speaks for itself.


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Go and hear it for yourself. The least personal, and most problematic, sections of the Mass are the monumental set-piece fugues at the end of the Gloria and Credo , where Schubert ostentatiously displays his contrapuntal credentials, probably with an eye on an official church appointment. Hickox chooses broad tempi, balancing dignity and vitality, and building thrillingly to the climaxes.

In the Kyrie , at a mobile tempo, he combines gravitas with a Schubertian lyrical ease. You hear how this heavenly music should sound, with the three soloists Mark Padmore, James Gilchrist — an ideally matched tenor pairing — and soprano Susan Gritton singing with pure tone and wondering tenderness. Most of the part-songs here evoke some aspect of night, whether benevolent, romantic, transfigured or sinister.

It sings with rounded, homogeneous tone, well-nigh perfect intonation and an excitingly wide dynamic range. Philip Mayers is a serviceable rather than specially imaginative pianist, though the delicate, silvery treble of the early 19th-century instrument is enchantingly heard in Psalm The recorded sound is clear and warm, with a well-judged vocal-instrumental balance.

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This Wigmore Hall recital serves emphatically to underline that point, and, with Graham Johnson as a supportive and inspiring partner at the piano, it sees Appl in even more natural-sounding and impressive form. What distinguishes this recital, however, is the interpretations themselves, bringing freshness to familiar numbers and making a persuasive case for those that are heard less often.

The selection and collocation of songs are wonderfully made so as to define a particular frame of mind and sustain and develop it. These songs of yearning, essentially spiritual, are very personal, and the imagination never shuts down. The pianist, Ingo Metzmacher, is fully responsive to this, and the recorded sound, of both voice and piano, is warm and vivid.

The recording and notes are faultless. Christian Gerhaher bar Gerold Huber pf. With few exceptions, Christian Gerhaher ventures well off the beaten track in this superlative recital centring on the echt Schubertian themes of wandering, evanescence, night and lost or unattainable love. I suspect Capell would have given the nod to Gerhaher, in close partnership with the sentient Gerold Huber.

With his lyric high baritone at its freest, Gerhaher has the uncommon gift of making everything alive, specific, while always sounding natural. Yet the abiding impression, here and throughout this recital, is of spontaneous directness, tempered by a certain restraint.

The song emerges less as melodrama than as a mysterious human tragedy. Several of the little-known early songs here look slender on the page. But they vindicate their choice with a performance of gentle eloquence and grace. Each successive verse is freshly, naturally, illuminated, with no conscious point-making. It crowns a superlative recital by a singer who for vocal beauty, poetic insight and expressive immediacy is surely unsurpassed in Lieder today. This is an unusual and wholly absorbing recital by a soprano often, mistakenly, considered no more than a singer with a lovely voice.

In , at the height of her appreciable powers, Janowitz impressed her Salzburg audience with this, her first recital at the Festival. These are surely their first recordings. This grandly imaginative if slightly impersonal quasi-cantata, to a Mayrhofer text, a composition that Schubert himself thought so highly of, is a kind of a panorama of a life, ending in a wonderfully reposeful final section. Janowitz and her impressive partner perform it with total conviction, sustaining interest throughout.

Janowitz takes the measure of them all, and adds to a gently vibrant tone many tints and touches of half-voice. They could not have a better advocate. Then comes the extraordinary discovery of this volume. The recording is well-nigh faultless. Some of the part-songs — Zum Punsche , Naturgenuss and Schlachtgesang — cultivate a vein of Biedermeier heartiness that wears a bit thin today. To compensate, though, there are part-songs like the sensual Der Entfernten , with its delicious languid chromaticisms, and the colourful setting of Gott im Ungewitter.

But, these cavils apart, no complaints about the singing or the vivid accompaniments. Johnson has astutely divided the songs between two voices. Ainsley interprets his songs with the tonal beauty, fine-grained phrasing and care for words that are the hallmarks of his appreciable art, even if his voice sometimes lacks a difficult-to-define individuality of timbre. Anthony Rolfe Johnson brings all the appropriate intensity one would expect from him to the tremendous Heine settings. It also has a complete index to the Edition. The recording is faultless.

Explanations for its suppression vary. Another feature of this is the significant underlining he gives to pertinent words.

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Immediate, unvarnished sound heightens the value of this extraordinary performance. An enthralling account of the cycle on virtually every count that seriously challenges the hegemony of the many desirable versions already available. The Harmonia Mundi sound, in spite of some reverberance, catches voice and piano in ideal balance. Ian Bostridge and Graham Johnson go to the heart of the matter, the young tenor in his aching tones and naturally affecting interpretation, the pianist in his perceptive, wholly apposite playing. The sum of their joint efforts is a deeply satisfying experience.

Bostridge has the right timbre for the protagonist and a straightforward approach, with an instinctive rightness of phrasing. Nowhere does he stretch beyond the bounds of the possible, everything expressed in eager then doleful tones. An occasional moment of faulty German accenting matters not at all when the sense of every word is perceived. The ideal Hyperion recording catches everything in very present terms.

If that brief account, and the timings, often very quick or slow, suggest exaggeration or melodrama, then they mislead: one was never aware of a word being presented for particular attention, and in some songs Gilchrist can barely get the words out in time, but line and sense never falter. Gilchrist and Tilbrook offer one of the very finest of modern versions. Goerne and Brendel form one of the great Lieder partnerships of the day. The sympathy between them goes beyond skilful ensemble and shared enjoyment of the wealth of illustration in Schubert, into a deep understanding of the poetry as he composed it.

But the lighter ones are scarcely less affecting. The Beethoven cycle moves in a steady progress not into the usual triumphant assertion but into a warmth of belief that song may truly join the parted lovers. This is music-making of genius. Schreier was never the most honeyed of tenors but in the lighter songs of Schwanengesang he compensates for a touch of reediness and a tendency to harden on high notes with the supple grace of his phrasing and his ultra-keen response to the text.

Planning a CD programme around Schwanengesang is always tricky. Ah, this journey! How many have made it, sincerely and imaginatively, two setting out as nearly as possible as one! So many on records too, following the elusive track as with torchlight concentrated upon it. And when we get there in this performance, what an end it is!

The journey begins with ever such a slight whine high in the voice, as with a calm acceptance of pain. The piano abstains from jabbing sforzandos to underline what the chords make plain enough, instead insisting calmly on its left-hand legato. But outside in the open, stillness and turbulence alternate like the moods of the weather-vane.

And so, throughout much of the trek, the self-confiding of the loner holds in check the utterance of emotion as the icy surface of the river conceals the running water beneath. And soon we meet the organ-grinder — and his secrets must on no account be revealed by reviewer or arts-gossip.

The listener must wait, out of respect to this marvellous partnership of Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis, until time can be taken for it, alone and uninterrupted, to accompany them on the journey through to its unearthly end. It has the universality too, but the depth of voice suits it.

Over the years a mere handful of true basses, most famously Martti Talvela and Kurt Moll, have recorded Winterreise , none with complete success. Not here. Like Hotter before him, Rose can effectively soften and lighten his timbre, while he and his pianist partner Gary Matthewman choose their tempi discerningly. Whatever their chosen keys, parts of Winterreise lie uncomfortably low for many tenors and baritones.

The 50 greatest Schubert recordings (12222 update)

Rose can maintain quality and sonority over a wide compass. More typically, Rose veers between sombre melancholy, defiant bitterness and a sheer determination to keep going. Yet nowhere is there a whiff of self-pity. Ripeness is all. He is given to secretive, wild-eyed confidings, to sudden changes of mood singing softly one moment, desperately loud the next.

His enunciation may be deadpan, almost expressionless, or it may stab emphatically — and the pianist will do the same. For sheer vocal splendour, Jonas Kaufmann is unrivalled in Winterreise since Jon Vickers, whose controversial recording is revelatory or grotesque, according to taste. Yet the dominant impression of this deeply considered Winterreise is of gentle, rueful introspection, momentarily flaring up in embittered protest forte high notes invariably bring a visceral thrill , then drifting into trance-like resignation.

On vocal evidence alone, though, he does not stress the disturbing psychopathology of Winterreise as do fellow tenors Peter Schreier and Ian Bostridge.