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Schubert: Piano Sonata D 959, Etc / Alfred Brendel

Release Date: 10/14/1988 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 422229   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Brendel is still recognizably the romantically impressionable Brendel of old in the big A major Sonata, where like Schnabel before him, he again chooses not to repeat the first movement's exposition. But there are some differences of style that result in a performance of greater maturity and poise. No longer does he resort to such marked fluctuations of pulse to emphasize the music's very personal tale. And in the first movement this is a distinct advantage—not least in second-subject territory where previously I thought his relaxation of tension disproportionate. If the opening melody of the Andantino perhaps sang more luminously over its lighter left-hand accompaniment before, it is again laden and searing. The dramatic central eruption Read more is no less frightening for its tauter rhythmic control, and as for the soul-baring recitative that follows, here Brendel even betrays his intensity through his throat—though it takes a sharp car to pick up these strange little extraneous sounds. I like the extra crispness he now brings to the Scherzo, also the greater, or certainly more consistently sustained, vitality of the concluding Allegretto, this time marginally faster. It need hardly be said that there is strong CD competition in this work—not least from Pollini on DG, with his exceptional tonal purity and keyboard finesse, and, of course, from the all-perceiving Schnabel (Arabesque/Harmonia Mundi). But no one takes the music closer to heart than Brendel, or projects it with more immediacy.

Extras are more generous than before on this clearly recorded second disc in Brendel's new Schubert cycle. I don't think the 16 German Dances are as endearing as the 12 of D790 that followed the A major Sonata on his 1973 Philips LP. But never playing for mere beer-garden effect, he combines arresting contrasts of mood with a true unity and continuity in the set as a whole. For the Hungarian Melody he finds a tang and bite all its own. And how sensitively and beautifully he times and shades the minor/major contrasts of the C minor Allegretto, which unassuming as it is, remains one of the gems of this composer's penultimate year.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [2/1989]
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano in A major, D 959 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Neumarkt/Oberpfalz, Germany 
Length: 36 Minutes 57 Secs. 
German Dances (16) and Ecossaises (2) for Piano, D 783/Op. 33 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Neumarkt/Oberpfalz, Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Hungarian melody for Piano in B minor, D 817 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Neumarkt/Oberpfalz 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Allegretto for Piano in C minor, D 915 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1987 
Venue:  Neumarkt/Oberpfalz, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata No.20 in A, D.959: 1. Allegro
Piano Sonata No.20 in A, D.959: 2. Andantino
Piano Sonata No.20 in A, D.959: 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace)
Piano Sonata No.20 in A, D.959: 4. Rondo (Allegretto)
Hungarian Melody in B minor, D.817
16 German Dances, D.783
Allegretto in C minor, D.915

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