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Schubert: Piano Sonatas No. 4 & 13, Wanderer Fantasy / Nebolsin

Schubert / Nebolsin,Eldar
Release Date: 05/31/2011 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572459   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Eldar Nebolsin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in a, D 537 . Piano Sonata in A, D 664 . “Wanderer” Fantasy Eldar Nebolsin (pn) NAXOS 8.572459 (62:15)

Eldar Nebolsin was born in Uzbekistan in 1974. Following studies with Dmitri Bashkirov, he won several important competitions (notably at Santander) and earned enthusiastic reviews for recordings of music by Rachmaninoff and Liszt. This disc is my introduction to his Read more playing and I am favorably impressed.

Schubert’s A-Minor Sonata was composed at age 20 but it contains many hints of the greatness to come, especially in the forceful opening movement and the lovely Allegretto that follows. Transitions may be somewhat pasted in, but the themes themselves are memorable, and the keyboard writing is distinctive. The A-Major Sonata, composed two years later, is much better known, and deservedly so; Schubert developed greatly during those two years. In the first movements of both sonatas Nebolsin characterizes the themes beautifully, with the grander passages played boldly but never percussively and the lyrical ones displaying eloquence and a seamless legato. Textures are clear and perfectly voiced. The middle movements are songful and subtly nuanced without distortion, and the dance qualities in the finales are captured perfectly. Some critics have compared Nebolsin’s playing to Sviatoslav Richter’s, and this seems a just comparison as far as Schubert is concerned. I would be hard-pressed, in fact, to choose between their recordings of the A-Major Sonata.

The “Wanderer” Fantasy was also one of Richter’s specialties, and again Nebolsin’s version is fully competitive. I especially like his tempo for the opening movement, which is not quite as fast we sometimes hear—it is played, as directed, “fast and with fire, but not too much,” and we hear it in four, not two, beats per measure. His tempo allows all themes to flow naturally from one to another and the notorious octaves near the end of the movement are unforced and without the tempo adjustment often heard. The second movement is full of lyricism, fine details, and high drama, while the third is rhetorical, big, and unforced. The tempo of the final movement is, again, not quite as fast as some have attempted, but it is very exciting because every note is heard and the pedaling is so judicious. The element of bombast is absent from Nebolsin’s “Wanderer,” and for once the piece sounds less like Liszt and more like Schubert. I highly recommend this disc and look forward to hearing more from this gifted pianist.

FANFARE: Charles Timbrell


I have heard many performances of these two very appealing Schubert sonatas and the Wanderer Fantasy by a variety if pianists in live concert and recordings. These performances on Naxos by the Uzbek-born pianist Eldar Nebolsin might very well be my favorites. The playing is insightful, poetic and introspective. Right in tune with the Schubertian keyboard style. The sound quality and tone color of Nebolsin's piano is just beautiful. Nebolsin's keyboard technique also serves the music with a particularly fine sense of phrasing. In fact one does not feel that this pianist is interpreting the music for you but rather allowing the music to come forth. One of the few other pianists from history that I have heard only on record accomplish this naturalness is Ignaz Friedman.

Nebolsin's playing of the stunning Wanderer Fantasy, Schubert's most fiery piece, is more toward the grand and regal side than the aggressive, forward rolling side. I appreciate the piece either way and Nebolsin makes a convincing case for a more cosmic approach that allows for lyricism as well as lightning bolts.

- Greg La Traille, ArkivMusic.com
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano in A minor, D 537/Op. 164 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Eldar Nebolsin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Sonata for Piano in A major, D 664/Op. 120 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Eldar Nebolsin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819/1825; Vienna, Austria 
Fantasy for Piano in C major, D 760/Op. 15 "Wanderer" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Eldar Nebolsin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Lyrical delicate. April 15, 2012 By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews "Lyrical delicate." Report Abuse
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