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Schubert: Piano Music / Zacharias

Release Date: 05/22/2007 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm) Gold Catalog #: 9401440   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christian Zacharias
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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SuperAudio CD:  $18.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in A, D 959 . 6 Deutsche, D 820 . 4 Ländler, D 814 . Deutscher, D 841/1 . Walzer, D 844 Christian Zacharias (pn) MDG 940 1440 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 56:15)

This gifted musician, winner of several important Read more competitions, successful internationally known pianist (and conductor), has a large discography, ranging from Scarlatti and Bach through the late 19th century, and including the complete Schubert piano sonatas. He is a pianist of elegance, refined taste, power, sensitivity, and consummate technique. And most importantly, MDG has provided a sumptuous piano sound that is uniformly rich from top to bottom.

There is much to admire in Zacharias’s reading of the Sonata, and one caveat: his view of the rhetorical opening material in the A-Major Sonata is overly dramatic, so free and with so many tempo changes that it seesaws quite a bit before settling into a basic allegro. The dramatic impact of the opening is performed with less exaggeration, and equal effect, by Schnabel and his legatees, among them the fine Boston-based pianist Victor Rosenbaum, who made a beautiful recording of the sonata in 1996 on the Bridge label.

Of course, it is not in Schubert’s nature to dwell for long in tempestuous drama, and as the material of the first movement proceeds to the lyrical second theme area, Zacharias finds a delicate, lovely touch to introduce it. His tempo for the slow movement is perfect, and the dramatic explosion in the middle section is chillingly effective. The Scherzo is delightfully mercurial, and the Rondo finale is rich in contrast between the lyrical rondo theme and the more fiery sections.

In the dances, which Schubert improvised by the dozens for his friends to dance to at Schubertiades, Zacharias is very free with rhythm and tempo, and his rubato is quite exaggerated. It would be impossible to perform the dances of the Biedermeier period to such an accompaniment, when the beat is never securely placed! Of course, today this is music strictly for listening; and even though Zacharias overdoes it, fussing over every phrase, he plays the dances with expression and affection.

In sum, Zacharias is an important and engaging artist of our time, and very worth hearing in this repertoire.

FANFARE: Susan Kagan

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano in A major, D 959 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christian Zacharias (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
German Dances (6) for Piano, D 820 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Christian Zacharias (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 

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