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Franz Schubert: Klaviersonaten, D. 959 & 960

Schubert / Vladar
Release Date: 10/09/2012 
Label:  Preiser Records   Catalog #: 90808   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Stefan Vladar
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHUBERT Piano Sonatas: in A, D 959; in B?, D 960 Stefan Vladar (pn) PREISER 90808 (79:56)

Even though he may be one of those modern pianists who seem to play everything in the same straight-ahead manner, I’ve always been very fond of Stefan Vladar because of his forward momentum and phrasing. I mean, just listen to the way he plays the opening movement of the Read more A-Major Sonata: It almost has a lilt to it, yet there is no lack of drama or surprise in Schubert’s multiple excursions away from the principal theme. Vladar is just so musical about it all. So is Craig Sheppard on Roméo, and Sheppard often finds new and interesting twists to give the music; but Schubert’s sonatas, like Beethoven’s, can be given more than one type of interpretation, and there’s much to cheer for in Vladar’s approach.

Listen, for instance, to the magical way in which he phrases the second-movement Andantino from the same sonata. The notes almost sound as if they are coming begrudgingly out of the piano, coaxed and drawn out in a sort of quiet lament. And then, almost without warning, that same piano cascades through the tumultuous waterfall of the scherzo ( Allegro vivace ), which takes on almost ominous overtones. This is playing on the highest level, virtuosity that is completely at the service of the music. Vladar is no show-off; he shows off only the music, not himself. The final Rondo-Allegretto practically dances off into the sunset.

Vladar brings out similar moments in the B?-Major sonata, but in this particular work I felt that Sheppard found more in the music. No matter, though, because Vladar is still operating at a very high artistic level. Listen to his semi-deconstruction of the slow portion of the first movement, for instance, in which oddly syncopated passages are interjected. It is, unfortunately, only too easy to make these odd moments sound disjointed, but Vladar makes them sound like pauses, semicolons if you will, in Schubert’s discursive musical thought. Once again, Vladar brings us inward to hear the Andante sostenuto , where every moment stands out like an individual pearl on a string, and he brings out the syncopated feeling of the middle section, delighting in the gentle Viennese melody over an unusually insistent bass line in 16th notes.

This could be described as a truly “pianistic approach” to the music. Vladar knows that he has a percussion instrument under his fingers. He doesn’t try to hide that; but what he does, to unify even dazzling runs into coherent musical statements, almost defies the instrument’s capabilities. One is left “hearing” this music in one’s mind almost as if it were played on a string or wind instrument. The phrases that replay through one’s head are sometimes the interesting, percussive little turns of the music, but more often the flow of it. Recommended, even to those who have another version of these sonatas that they favor.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano in A major, D 959 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Stefan Vladar (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Preiser Records Studio - Casino Baumgart 
Length: 38 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Stefan Vladar (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Preiser Records Studio - Casino Baumgart 
Length: 40 Minutes 1 Secs. 

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