The sixth volume in Matthias Goerne's survey of Franz Schubert's lieder includes the posthumous collection Schwanengesang, which contains some of the loveliest and most disturbing songs Schubert ever composed. One problem in performing this ambiguous work of Schubert's last year lies in its alternation of sweet, lyrical songs with those of a much darker and even frightening character, and it's left to the singer and the pianist to balance the moods and to make the contrasts of expression as subtle as possible. Goerne and his accompanist Christoph Eschenbach meet the challenge by carefully shading the songs with a tempering of expressions that admits sorrow in the midst of joy and hope in the depths of despair.
The recording is similarly refined, intimate enough but never in-your-face, and delicately resonant, adding lustre to the gentle glow Brendel places around Schubert's sorrowful songs. And don't forget that analogy with Winterreise: maybe Brendel's Schubert Sonatas work so well because he hears the voices, and as a pianist he's simply one of the best singers. ..
While as an interpreter he is remembered most readily as an advocate of the piano music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Artur Schnabel's own favorite among the so-called "Great Masters" was Franz Schubert. Largely, Schnabel was able to record his little sips of Schubert in between great heaping gulps of Beethoven, and over a period of eighteen years managed to amass the 5 CDs worth of music that makes up Music and Arts' magnificent Artur Schnabel: The Complete Schubert Recordings. This set is "complete" in the sense that it includes every disc of Schubert that Schnabel made and approved for commercial release.
2007 release of a mammoth box set of 50 CD's with key recordings from the Angel/EMI Music classical catalog. Performers include Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Quatuor Hongrois, Heutling Quartet, Erich Leinsdorf, Jean-Philippe Collard & Augustin Dumay & Frdric Lodon, Christian Zacharias, Paolo Bordoni, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Geoffrey Parsons, Lucia Popp, Barbara Hendricks, Radu Lupu and many more.
Born in 1941, and currently chief conductor of the Orchestre de Paris, Christoph Eschenbach is one of today’s foremost conductor-pianists. This fascinating retrospective focuses on his brilliant early career as a pianist, when his searching musical intelligence, formidable technique and enthusiastic engagement with the music of his, and our, time produced many recordings that have stood the test of time.