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Homage To Schubert / Benjamin Hochman

Schubert / Hochman,Benjamin
Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2281   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz SchubertGyörgy KurtágJörg Widmann
Performer:  Benjamin Hochman
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in A, D 664. Piano Sonata in D, D 850. KURTÁG Hommage à Schubert. WIDMANN Idyll und Abgrund Benjamin Hochman (pn) AVIE 2281 (71:57)

There was a convention among music critics, not used much these days, to refer to pianists as “naturals” for a given Read more composer. Schnabel/Beethoven, Rubinstein/Chopin, Gieseking/Debussy, and so on. I think the term applies to Benjamin Hochman’s Schubert playing. He is aware, though not precious, about his particular bond to this music, as he refers, in his eloquent program notes, to the “striking dichotomy between lyricism and drama” in the two sonatas he presents here. The young Israeli-born artist, a recently graduated student of Claude Frank and Richard Goode at Curtis, has an especially fine way with the gentle side of Schubert, with a carefully wrought tonality and vocal rhythmic pacing that recalls Kempff. His tempos are relaxed, and his phrasing has a flexibility that points the music forward, rather than backward, in a musical historical sense.

Hochman complements the two Schubert sonatas with new music that is inspired by the Viennese master. György Kurtág, who has also written haunting music based on Bach, here presents a whisper of a piece, about a minute long, that sounds like a dreamy vision of a Schubert slow movement, perhaps even that of the Sonata in A, that Hochman plays, which it mimics both rhythmically and melodically. Jorg Widmann is scarcely less concise in his six pieces comprising Idyll and Abyss , which, with its alternating ebullience and inwardness, seems to tie Schubert to Schumann. I prefer the Webern-like precision of the Kurtág piece, but Widmann certainly conveys a deep and sincere love of Schubert.

I am sure that certain music lovers will object to the inclusion of contemporary music on this program, but Hochman is making a point, namely, that Schubert is as contemporary—timeless, really—in his ability to touch us to the depths. Those so inclined will miss the opportunity to hear a very promising new artist, but I am quite sure there will be many other chances.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Piano in A major, D 664/Op. 120 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Benjamin Hochman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819/1825; Vienna, Austria 
Games: Hommage ŕ Schubert by György Kurtág
Performer:  Benjamin Hochman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Idyll and Abyss "Six Schubert Reminiscences" by Jörg Widmann
Performer:  Benjamin Hochman (Piano)
Sonata for Piano in D major, D 850/Op. 53 "Gasteiner" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Benjamin Hochman (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 

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