Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

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Tarantella
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Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:19 am

This is a favourite from Schubert, D960. Here is Alfred Brendel playing the last movement and it sounds so very Haydnesque and Austrian, but also Beethovenian. Shades of that 'national anthem' Haydn wrote in his "Emperor" string quartet. Who is your favourite interpreter of this work?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TXIBCNq ... re=related

josé echenique
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by josé echenique » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:10 am

Schnabel, Serkin, Rubinstein, Brendel, Richter, Lupu, Curzon, Perahia, Schiff and most especially Maurizio Pollini who made a resplendent recording some 20 years ago. And let´s not forget Andreas Staier who made a gorgeous recording in the fortepiano.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Steinway » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:34 am

I would add to Jose's list, three additional recordings:

Stephen Hough, Mitsuko Uchida and Imogen Cooper, who have exceptional interpretations of this sonata.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:43 am

Annie Fischer and Richter are my favourites, but I also enjoy versions by Brendel, Andsnes and Lupu. I have 9 versions altogether; actually I like them all.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Holden Fourth » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:10 pm

...and I'll throw Kovacevich and Haskil into the mix.

Tarantella
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:06 pm

We're very spoilt, aren't we? But what are your thoughts on the actual sonata and it's somewhat 'heavenly' length?!

barney
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by barney » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:24 pm

I think the sonata is near-perfect. Its modulations take my breath away; it is an utterly transcendent piece of music.

I have: Alfredo Perl
Brendel
Brendel again
Schiff
Rubinstein
Schnabel
Curzon
Holtham
Cazal
Kempff
Haskil
Arrau
Uchida
Brendel again
Kempff again (but I think this is the same recording; without walking over to check)
Brendel again, and
Imogen Cooper

I am simply unable to nominate a favourite. There are too many sublime interpretations.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Wallingford » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:30 pm

One of these evenings I'll give another spin to Dame Myra Hess' late-40s live performance.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Lance » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:05 pm

I have just about all of the recordings of Schubert's Bb, Op. Posth. It's a winner, one I hope to hear (at least the first mvt.) as I move from this life to whatever is next. My forever favorite is Clara Haskil's 1951 Philips recording, which now appears on Decca.
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by arthound » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:17 pm

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Last edited by arthound on Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:48 am

I realize that I misspoke concerning Richter's being my favourite D.960. I adore Richter's Schubert but realized later that I don't even have a Richter D.960. I was listening to the youtube recording of this performance, and Richter plays the first movement excruciatingly slowly. I was sure I had never heard the sonata played like that before, so checked my catalogue and to my surprise I don't own any Richter D.960. I do have a double CD of Richter playing Schubert, in the "Richter the Master" series, and it's probably the best Schubert piano disc that I have.

As to the question of why this piece is so great, I think it hits a high point in terms of both melody and a structure that is often lacking in Schubert's earlier work. Schubert was an intuitive melodic genius, but his work often doesn't have the tightness of structure and resulting tension that you find in Beethoven. The music rambles (I'll probably get taken to task for saying that). But not so in his later work. The first movement of the D.960 is very memorable, and always sings in my head as I listen to it. The melodic phrases are long and pleasureable, and the music follows an overall arc that makes some kind of sense. The left hand is entirely different in nature from the right, much darker, and the contrast to the Schubertian prettiness of the main line gives the piece so much more depth. The pathos evoked by the first movement runs very deep. My thoughts on the other movements aren't sharp at the moment, but I may edit this again later.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Werner » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:26 pm

Among all the great performers listed here, I miss one nems: Leon Fleisher.

A few years ago, there was a CD listed under the title "Two Hands."

Evidently ro celebrate his return to the twoo-hand repertoire, this has to be lsted as onf ot the alltime great performance, IMO.

The Schubert takes up about half the disk. The rest is filled by smaller - but by no means less importent = works, played by a great musician. Much of this we've heard elsdwhere and are glad to have agakn - but with this D960 he conquers the Everest of a masterpiece.
Werner Isler

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:52 pm

Tarantella wrote:This is a favourite from Schubert, D960. Here is Alfred Brendel playing the last movement and it sounds so very Haydnesque and Austrian, but also Beethovenian. Shades of that 'national anthem' Haydn wrote in his "Emperor" string quartet. Who is your favourite interpreter of this work?
At the risk of being kicked off CMG, I find this movement, like much in Schubert's sonatas, overly long and, in this case, somewhat boring. I cannot in my mind reconcile these works with his achievement in other genres. I want to love them as much as others do, but very often they just don't click.
Last edited by jbuck919 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tarantella
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:44 am

I love Schubert's sonatas and even tried playing one of them, finding them very tricky and with large hand-spans needed and lots of wonderful modulations. I love D960 and don't find it overly long and certainly not boring - but I appreciate that some people do find it this way. To me, this late work is a major essay and also like a narrative - I like the place I go with it.

Today I watched a program all about Chopin, and the pianists were all past winners of the Chopin Competition. Garrick Ohlsson explained the technical difficulties for playing the Etudes and this left me in awe that quite a few people have managed these, that they are profoundly musical and that these represent, like Schubert, a huge leap from Beethoven. When Schubert died Chopin was 18 years old and already his style was quite radically different from both Schubert and Beethoven. Everything happened so quickly, in those first decades of the 19th century, when the Viennese classical period had gone relatively 'unchanged' for a longer period before this. What I mean is that there was no radical departure as there was when Chopin and Schumann arrived on the scene. Was it the increasing expressivity of the piano itself, I wonder, which was partly the reason for this?

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Werner » Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:15 pm

No shortage of admirers here - and just ly so.

John, with all due respect, I don't see the issue of length the way you do - am thinking, rather, in terms of Schubert's "Heavenly lengths," marked by a typically Schubertian simplicity, which seems to me unique, and disappeard pretty well by the time Chopin. Schumann, and Liszt came along. Not to worry, Tarantella, they each had their own artistic characterisics. But when it comess to "Schuertian" simplicity, I think there is some in Bruckner and Mahler - quite a stretch ftom the orriginal, though.
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Wallingford » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:11 pm

Put on the Hess as I promised myself, three evenings ago.

I have to say this is likely a great performance, lost to the world. There exist both disc masters and tape masters of this 1949 recital at the University of Illinois. There's an extremely heavy hiss that would indicate the CD release was mastered from tape; but some loud, regular clicks in the last three minutes of the last movement indicate, quite possibly, otherwise.

You need a healthy imagination in order to reconstruct a performance like this. Dame Myra was one of the early exponents of the Schubert sonatas & chamber music; like Schnabel, she was a "musician first, pianist second" type of artist, though she was a great deal more technically scrupulous than Schnabel. There always was a simple, child-of-nature way about her musical sensibilities, the kind that infused her studio recording of Schubert's A Major Sonata, D.664. And she has very agreeable tempos and (from what I can scarcely make out) fine nuances in her B-flat Sonata live recording. But as I began listening to the sound file ripped to my laptop, I immediately found myself occupied with other things at my computer--sufing the web, and so on. Like I say, a fine performance forever lost to the world.

The CD, if anyone's interested, is from Appian Publications Recordings.

P.S. I just found both these Hess performances on YouTube. :)
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Tarantella
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Werner I wasn't grieving about the changed musical styles from Beethoven and Schubert to Chopin and Schumann. I celebrate all of the repertoire from Nostre Dame school and Leonin and Perotin right up to Ligeti.

Looking at all the various comments - not just on this thread but many others - about specific artists' recordings of music and peoples' preferences for specific performances it seems as though we all feel part "ownership" of the repertoire (or the canon in general). We 'own' and jealousy guard our own interpretations as those imparted from the musicians we love - often this will be many different versions and performances which we can justify and explain in detail - always with love. Even the rushed or icy passage in, say, a piano sonata by Mozart is criticized because it has trammeled on our own 'understanding' of a work. "The pianist has got it wrong", we'll often say, "No; don't rush that bit - it's meant to be poetic and lyrical". In this age of mass media and recordings we are all 'auteres', though mostly this is achieved through 'playing the stereo'!! And another joy....when you are listening with somebody to the music you love and he or she (mostly it's a he, for some strange reason) will smile at exactly the same time you do, and you look at each other. Yes, that's a buzz.

Three cheers for the connoisseur!!

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by slofstra » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:55 am

Werner wrote:No shortage of admirers here - and just ly so.

John, with all due respect, I don't see the issue of length the way you do - am thinking, rather, in terms of Schubert's "Heavenly lengths," marked by a typically Schubertian simplicity, which seems to me unique, and disappeard pretty well by the time Chopin. Schumann, and Liszt came along. Not to worry, Tarantella, they each had their own artistic characterisics. But when it comess to "Schuertian" simplicity, I think there is some in Bruckner and Mahler - quite a stretch ftom the orriginal, though.
You don't find that in Schumann? I can see that Chopin and Liszt are entirely different in temperament.

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Werner » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:13 pm

Right you are. We do have some on this board - good friends and music lovers all - who disparage Schumann. I'm not with them on that, but I do believe that Schumann's romanticism and passion go far beyond the slimplicities of Schubert - not that there isn't enough to treasure in them all.

If you'll permit me to digress, I have recently been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of three musicians I respect: Donald, whom you know, David Dubal, who went along with an adventurous suggestion of Donald's, and Joe Patrych, a good friend and great expert on music.

The subject of thie surprising approval is a part of a recording I made some fotry-six years ago. including works of Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. It was a nice way to have my say on these pieces, but one part remains special. It's the second movement of the Schubert A Major Sonata, D664. No tour de force pianistically, but this movement seems to catch some of the Schubert I've been talking about.

To my greaat surprise, David Dubal went along with Donald's enthusiasm and included it in his weekly program, "The Piano Matterts, along with some kind words that matter when told by someone with his authority.

You can find it on YouTube - four and a half minutes culled from a lifetime I know, Tarantella, it's not D560 - I'd never attempt that - but perhaps you'll find some merit in it.
Werner Isler

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by barney » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:26 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Tarantella wrote:This is a favourite from Schubert, D960. Here is Alfred Brendel playing the last movement and it sounds so very Haydnesque and Austrian, but also Beethovenian. Shades of that 'national anthem' Haydn wrote in his "Emperor" string quartet. Who is your favourite interpreter of this work?
At the risk of being kicked off CMG, I find this movement, like much in Schubert's sonatas, overly long and, in this case, somewhat boring. I cannot in my mind reconcile these works with his achievement in other genres. I want to love them as much as others do, but very often they just don't click.
Heresy! Kick him off CMG! He probably doesn't understand cricket either! :)

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:43 pm

Werner wrote:The subject of thie surprising approval is a part of a recording I made some fotry-six years ago. including works of Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. It was a nice way to have my say on these pieces, but one part remains special. It's the second movement of the Schubert A Major Sonata, D664. No tour de force pianistically, but this movement seems to catch some of the Schubert I've been talking about.
Here is Werner's performance:



Aside from bravo, those of you who are not long-time members may not be aware that this is not the first time he has graced us with an audible recollection of his performing past.

I'm sorry, Werner, but that movement does not change my mind about paucity in Schubert's piano sonatas. Perhaps he is a performer's composer, as is for instance Haydn in many of his sonatas, though I think Haydn comes out better in the comparison.


Werner wrote:We do have some on this board - good friends and music lovers all - who disparage Schumann. I'm not with them on that, but I do believe that Schumann's romanticism and passion go far beyond the slimplicities of Schubert - not that there isn't enough to treasure in them all.
Coincidentally, after I read your previous post and Henry Slofstra's response I hunted down this, which supports your point, and in an indirect way mine too (i.e., there may be issues with the sonata form for piano after Beethoven but it is not because it never involves exciting music). I'm not so sure it helps Henry a great deal.
:wink:


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Tarantella
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:51 am

Lovely performance, Werner, of very tender music from the beloved Schubert. (I did a 150 minute lecture on Schubert for my "Music in Vienna" series here about 2 months ago. It looked at the musical milieu in Schubert's time and I tried to explain how this shaped him as a composer.) He hit his stride in D960, IMO. The poor darling only lived to be 31 - we mustn't ever forget that when considering his achievements. Trust me when I say that standing in front of his TodHaus in Kettenbruckengasse, Wien, was a very solemn moment I won't forget.

This little sonata in A major D664 is, in some sense, a kind of miniature like the lied - but no less beautiful and powerful for that. Those little dramas so effectively portrayed in the lied, Schubert also packed instrumentally into these sonatas and I disagree with jbuck about there being a "paucity" in his sonatas. I love the way Schubert uses the "Alberti bass" in the Andante in D664 under that yearning melody. For Schubert less is more, but more is also more.

As for Schumann - he's definitely a favourite and I love his sonatas as much as those of Schubert. How about this as a virtuosic piece from Schubert: "The Wanderer Fantasy"!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axp_Qsoq ... re=related

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Werner » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:53 pm

I'm sorry to have missed your lecture, Tarantella - I'm sure we'd have many things we both love.As for Schubert hitting his stride with d960 - well yes, but let's not overlook that whole set of the last three sonatas -that uncanny similarity to Beethoven's three, achieved after a nuch longer life span. To me each piece in each set is on a similarly high level.

It must have been a significant feeling for you to deliver your lecture at what you call the "Todhaus" It reminds me of my 1945 viait to Salzburg on a pass just before my return home. Here was the Mozart statue standind unharmed among the ruins. across the stret from Mozart's birthplace - marked his "Geburtshaus." I couldn't resist the temptation to have someone photograph me in the gate - which hopefully shows less signs of the passage of time than I do but i still have the picture.
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Tarantella
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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by Tarantella » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:43 pm

Werner, I delivered the *lecture here in Australia as I had been living in Vienna all through 2011 and visited the "death house" of Schubert - which was but a short walk from where I was living, and the next U-Bahn stop. This Vienna sojourn provided the impetus for the series of 4 lectures for "Music in Vienna" - Haydn (his final years back in Vienna after Eisenstadt and the journeys to UK), Schubert and two on Beethoven (Bonn to Vienna, then the 2nd and 3rd periods) - all of which I heavily researched as well. Is it possible, Werner, to love this music more with each passing year after being acquainted with it for over 45 years? (I also have a wide range of kunstmusik tastes, not just this.)

I agree about the drei spater Klaviersonaten von Schubert!! All are wonderful but I feel they are partly influenced by Beethoven, particularly in some of the more 'muscular' passages of D960, but they are also highly original and certainly point in another direction altogether. Also, the Adagio in D958 is very Beethovenian!! I love them all, just as I would a very dear and close friend.

(*Lectures were for the University of the Third Age - an organization started in France, where retired people 'educate' each other in special interest groups - and these are run by 'experts' (or enthusiasts) in particular areas. In my case, our Music Appreciation is convened by two retired professors of music education - both of whom are fine musicians. They gave me 'priority' status this year because of my experiences in Vienna. For early 2013, I am preparing lectures on Alban Berg and another on The Art of Transcription, starting with Bach/Busoni.)

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Re: Schubert D960 Klaviersonate

Post by slofstra » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:51 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Werner wrote:The subject of thie surprising approval is a part of a recording I made some fotry-six years ago. including works of Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. It was a nice way to have my say on these pieces, but one part remains special. It's the second movement of the Schubert A Major Sonata, D664. No tour de force pianistically, but this movement seems to catch some of the Schubert I've been talking about.
Here is Werner's performance:



Aside from bravo, those of you who are not long-time members may not be aware that this is not the first time he has graced us with an audible recollection of his performing past.

I'm sorry, Werner, but that movement does not change my mind about paucity in Schubert's piano sonatas. Perhaps he is a performer's composer, as is for instance Haydn in many of his sonatas, though I think Haydn comes out better in the comparison.


Werner wrote:We do have some on this board - good friends and music lovers all - who disparage Schumann. I'm not with them on that, but I do believe that Schumann's romanticism and passion go far beyond the slimplicities of Schubert - not that there isn't enough to treasure in them all.
Coincidentally, after I read your previous post and Henry Slofstra's response I hunted down this, which supports your point, and in an indirect way mine too (i.e., there may be issues with the sonata form for piano after Beethoven but it is not because it never involves exciting music). I'm not so sure it helps Henry a great deal.
:wink:

I enjoyed listening to the contrast between these two pieces. I'm also not so sure what the point is intended to be, but if both of these are lesser pieces within each composer's ouevre then the least of Schubert is far better than the least of Schumann. The Schubert performance is very "tender" as tartenella has pointed out, and would it be correct to say that this piece offers the performer much greater latitude for expression than the Schumann piece? In any case, Werner's playing is wonderfully expressive and enjoyable. The Schumann second piano sonata is not to be compared to Kreisleriana, Davidsbundler, and all those other great pieces. Schumann is perhaps at his best in the short form.
Schubert and Schumann are alike in many respects, and both are very different from what came before, Beethoven, and what came after, Chopin and Liszt. The difference between the two men, and these pieces point this up, is more in temperament than anything else. Schubert seems more refined and I do like the word 'tender'. Schumann is more passionate and relies more on the single eruptive inspiration, he seems to need a divine muse. Whereas, from Schubert the music just flows. Just some ruminations, I may be off.

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