Notes and Editorial Reviews
Piano Sonatas: in A,
Ingrid Marsoner (pn)
GRAMOLA 98808 (56:28)
Ingrid Marsoner is a gifted Austrian pianist who studied with Sebastian Benda (a pupil of Edwin Fischer), Rudolf Kehrer, and Paul Badura-Skoda. She has won prizes at several competitions and appeared in major halls in Europe and the U.S. She makes a fine first impression in these two well-contrasted Schubert sonatas. The
so-called “little” A-Major (to distinguish it from the bigger and later D 959) is a perfect jewel of a work. It is full of beautiful melodies, lovely piano writing, and fine contrasts within its three movements. There are many justly famous recordings of it, including those of Myra Hess and Sviatoslav Richter, but Marsoner holds her own well, even in that company. She shares with Hess an approach that is simple and direct, with a tone that is never forced, even in fortissimos. In the first movement, textures are clear without being dry, and she hears across bar lines and knows how to play both steadily and freely without noticeably changing the tempo with each new phrase. The Andante, for once, is just that—not Richter’s
. The final Allegro ripples along joyfully, and the mock-heroic outbursts are rich, not percussive.
If memory serves, D 845 was the first Schubert sonata I ever studied—and it is still one of my favorites. I remember modeling my performance somewhat on the recordings by Richter and Alfred Brendel, and their accounts are still worth acquiring, despite more recent competition. The first movement is full of melancholy, and is also at times almost symphonic. It is a difficult one to pace, and in the more forceful moments, I would have welcomed just a bit more of Richter’s drive, especially in the coda. The development contains some marvelously coloristic moments, which Marsoner is keenly sensitive to without exaggeration. And she provides some perfect contrasts of touch and texture in the Andante, a set of variations that Schubert particularly enjoyed playing for his friends. The Scherzo and the finale Rondo are full of character and a good feeling for architecture.
This disc, which at 56 minutes is more than a bit short, leaves one wanting to hear more, especially when the playing is on such a high level. It’s an auspicious recording debut, and the sound is as natural and refined as the playing.
FANFARE: Charles Timbrell
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