This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Ashkenazy's Schubert lives wholeheartedly and unself-consciously in the present. There is a poise and clarity tempered by moments of lingering touch and breath which discover the true Innigkeit in the music.
The Schubert series of Brendel and Schiff, the return of Richter—to say nothing of Ashkenazy's own conducting career with its subsequent unhappy machinations—have to some extent obscured the brightest light of his pianism. These Decca reissues (keen, lively recordings in an airy acoustic) are timely reminders of the untrammelled, unwearied Ashkenazy of the 1960s.
The Sonata in A, D664, written when Schubert was just 22, lives wholeheartedly and unself-consciously in the present. I like the air of
apparent nonchalance, the strong, lithe octaves of the first movement, and the way Ashkenazy, with his light, translucent chords, resists the temptation to sink too deep into either the keys or the heartbeat of the slow movement. Schubert playing can sound laboured beside this.
When it comes to D784, Ashkenazy sets up a mighty, ringing pendulum of rhythm which, with the tension and clarity of his octave and dotted rhythms, powerfully unifies the first movement. His playing may not have quite the long-sighted concentration of a Brendel, but the Andante has equal poise and clarity, tempered by moments of lingering touch and breath which discover its true Innigkeit as well. Ashkenazy's Schubert certainly gives pause for thought about both the composer and his own musicianship: in between the sonatas, an Ungarische Melodie kicks its heels high, and 12 Waltzes whirl in sheer delight at their own teeming imagination.
– Gramophone [4/1995]
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