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Schubert: Piano Sonatas D575, 894, 959 & 960 / Brendel


Release Date: 02/13/2001 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 456573   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 28 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

To mark Alfred Brendel's 70th birthday, Philips has issued a number of retrospective recordings by the great pianist. Few performers ruminate upon music as deeply and cogently as Brendel does. A comparatively small area of the repertoire is suited to his deeply considered, highly intellectualized style, and in Brendel's discography Schubert always has retained a special place. Bargain hunters already will have snapped up the Philips Duo set of Brendel's recordings of the final triptych of Schubert piano sonatas--D.958, D.959, and D.960--but for those collectors wishing to complete their Brendel Schubert sonata discography, this new two-disc package features one work he has not recorded previously.


These live
Read more performances described by the pianist himself as "documents of chance", recorded over the last four years at recitals in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Aldeburgh, and London, include Brendel's first-ever recording of Schubert's piano sonata in B major D.575. It's among the most delectable of the earlier sonatas, though Brendel finds within this score greater muscularity and substance than did András Schiff in his Decca performance of 1992. Brendel's new account puts you constantly in mind of the 1979 BBC recording (on its "Legends" label) by Sviatoslav Richter, though Brendel's is the more concentrated and lucid view. He has recorded the G major sonata previously, of course, and the new version programmed here adds little to his earlier thoughts on the work.


Disc Two is devoted to the final two works of Schubert's piano sonata output--D.959 in A major and D.960 in B-flat. There's greater immediacy in the former; you sense the presence of the audience at a kind of subliminal level, as you, with them, join Brendel in a kind of collective unfolding of this work. The performance is technically less perfect than Brendel's earlier studio accounts, but any minor shortcomings are more than compensated for by the epic sweep and intellectual control, with the slow movement in particular entering realms of expressivity that even Brendel rarely attains. Broadly similar comments apply to D.960, where you detect occasionally intrusive noises, but the performance itself is no less visionary nor valedictory than Brendel's earlier recordings for Philips.


Though there are moments when Brendel makes this music sound startlingly original, this reading will appeal principally to those who value intellectual dissection over external effect. These aren't all-sufficient performances, but they weren't intended to be: they simply add a further dimension to one man's lifelong experience of this music, and we should be grateful that he's shared his latest thoughts on it with us.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano in G major, D 894/Op. 78 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/25/1998 
Venue:  Live  Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany 
Length: 36 Minutes 35 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano in B major, D 575/Op. posth by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/04/1998 
Venue:  Live  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 25 Minutes 7 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Piano in A major, D 959 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/17/1999 
Venue:  Live  Maltings, Snape 
Length: 38 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4. Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Alfred Brendel (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/25/1997 
Venue:  Live  Royal Festival Hall, London, England 
Length: 37 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Sonata No.18 in G, D.894: 1. Molto moderato e cantabile
Piano Sonata No.18 in G, D.894: 2. Andante
Piano Sonata No.18 in G, D.894: 3. Menuetto (Allegro moderato)
Piano Sonata No.18 in G, D.894: 4. Allegretto
Piano Sonata No.9 in B, D.575: 1. Allegro ma non troppo
Piano Sonata No.9 in B, D.575: 2. Andante
Piano Sonata No.9 in B, D.575: 3. Scherzo (Allegretto)
Piano Sonata No.9 in B, D.575: 4. Allegro giusto
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)
Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat, D.960: 1. Molto moderato
Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat, D.960: 2. Andante sostenuto
Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat, D.960: 3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace con delicatezza)
Piano Sonata No.21 in B flat, D.960: 4. Allegro ma non troppo

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Recordings of Fine Live Performances by Brendel o April 12, 2013 By James Spence (Victoria, BC) See All My Reviews "The always reliable Alfred Brendel comes through and delivers technically proficient (if somewhat uninspired) performances in this collection of live recordings of Schubert Piano Sonatas D575, 894, 959 & 960. Satisfying listening for fans of Brendel. Even more satisfying listening for fans of Brendel performing Schubert." Report Abuse
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