For decades, internationally acclaimed pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has been researching Schubert's original scores and early printed editions. With his new album, he offers an unequivocal interpretation of Schubert's much loved Impromptus D 899 and his last Sonata, D 960. Buchbinder is considered the one living pianist who personifies the Viennese classical tradition, and in keeping with that, Schubert was recorded live at the famed Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
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.
Listening to Murray Perahia's 2002 recordings of Schubert's last three piano sonatas, one is reminded all over again how great the works are, how dramatic and heroic the C minor is, how lyrical and passionate the A major is, and how morbid and sublime the B flat major is. Unfortunately, one is also reminded all over again of how limited an interpreter Perahia is, how he can play the notes of the C minor but miss their depths, how he can sing the melodies of the A major but miss their beauty, and how he can keep to the tempos of the B flat major but miss their transcendental profundity.