Schubert Piano Sonatas

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:44 am

Here is a Schubert's sonata which you don't hear very often and it's a terribly interesting work; I remember playing the first movement for my 7th Grade piano exam years ago. This movement is rather intriguing; it has some elements of lieder in the bass line (and particularly in melody and bass in the 2nd movement) and you can even hear quite exotic harmonies in some of the passages. But the sonata is rather 'large' in conception and I wonder why it is played less frequently than the later sonatas.

This performance by Kempff hits the mark:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtSQ0rDIPlc

The Schubert piano sonatas are for me very significant companions in my musical life!!

maestrob
Posts: 4869
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by maestrob » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:33 am

Hi, Belle! You've been missed.......

Kempff had a special touch and affinity with Schubert: his set of the Sonatas is a frequent companion in my listening life. As for why your example is not played more frequently, I have no idea! :D Perhaps our resident statistician (JohnF) can answer that.

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26092
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:12 pm

Belle wrote:
Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:44 am
Here is a Schubert's sonata which you don't hear very often and it's a terribly interesting work; I remember playing the first movement for my 7th Grade piano exam years ago. This movement is rather intriguing; it has some elements of lieder in the bass line (and particularly in melody and bass in the 2nd movement) and you can even hear quite exotic harmonies in some of the passages. But the sonata is rather 'large' in conception and I wonder why it is played less frequently than the later sonatas.

This performance by Kempff hits the mark:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtSQ0rDIPlc

The Schubert piano sonatas are for me very significant companions in my musical life!!

You could play this in 7th grade, no matter what that means when translated into Australian? Hats off.

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

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:29 pm

I meant 7th Grade in the Australian Music Examinations Board syllabus for piano. It traverses 1st to 8th Grades, then Associate, then Licenciate (which my mother earned at 16). Most people enter the Conservatory for further study after (or concurrently with) earning their Associate! I stopped shortly after I arrived at 8th Grade, collapsing under the weight of Beethoven piano sonatas (which I loved far too much to do a hatchet job) - and hadn't started learning piano until I was 34 anyway. When I was a child of 7 I started the grades but a violent nun who hit me with a ruler on its side sent me running home in tears!!

And I didn't play the first movement of Schubert's D845 anywhere near as well as Kempff!! It did provide enough technical and theoretical knowledge (7th Grade Theory) for me to go on and study Musicology at university; that was my consolation prize!!!

John F
Posts: 18872
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by John F » Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:31 pm

Most of Schubert's piano sonatas were hardly played at all in concert until after World War II, though a few important pianists such as Artur Schnabel took them up. Rachmaninoff said as late as the 1930s that he wasn't aware Schubert had written any piano sonatas at all. Those who play Schubert nowadays mostly concentrate on the 3 posthumous sonatas and a few other late ones, and it's only in recordings that we have a chance to hear the others. One I particularly like is the earlier A major sonata. My favorite recording, by Ashkenazy, isn't on YouTube, but Andras Schiff will do very well.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsMHHlDYlMM
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:10 am

It's a total joy! Total. I have Richter playing this but the sound quality is so bad I hardly ever listen to it. But I had the Schiff going on my Bluetooth just now while I've been trading on the share market. Takes much of the stress out of it!!

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 16948
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:59 pm

Speaking of Schubert's piano sonatas, I was thinking today of a marvelous set from the house of Vox as performed by Friedrich Wuhrer. I have those old Vox LP boxes, and, recorded in mono only by a true Viennese pianist, I wish Vox or one of the companies with whom they license recordings would issue them complete on CDs. Seems to me I have seen them or some of them advertised on CD [not by Vox] but haven't located any as yet. I suppose Wurher's name is completely out of people's minds these days, but he was a fine artist who made many recordings for Vox and other labels. No doubt this would not be a money-making venture for any label, however, as interpretations go, Wuhrer's is right at the top in what I maintain is a true Schubert tradition.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 18872
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: New York, NY

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by John F » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:57 am

Belle wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:10 am
It's a total joy! Total. I have Richter playing this but the sound quality is so bad I hardly ever listen to it.
Richter and others take the first movement at too moderato a pace for me and lay on too much rubato too early for this music. Ashkenazy doesn't over-interpret it in this way, and neither does Schiff.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:21 am

I'll wade through the poor sound quality tonight and listen again to Richter in light of what you've said.

Allen
Posts: 536
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 12:56 pm

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Allen » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:35 pm

Absolutely - Walter Klien is a first class pianist. I have many of his recordings on several labels. Another Austrian pianist who has this music in his blood. I thought the Vox recordings of his Schubert were exceptional. Three two-CD sets were issued by Vox: 5173, 5174, and 5175. Thankfully, they are still being made available. [It is the mono-only recordings of Friedrich Wuhrer that I have on Vox LPs and wish they were available on CDs.)
Does anyone like the complete set by Walter Klien?
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complet ... B000001K5Q

maestrob
Posts: 4869
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by maestrob » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:27 am

Lance wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:35 pm
Absolutely - Walter Klien is a first class pianist. I have many of his recordings on several labels. Another Austrian pianist who has this music in his blood. I thought the Vox recordings of his Schubert were exceptional. Three two-CD sets were issued by Vox: 5173, 5174, and 5175. Thankfully, they are still being made available. [It is the mono-only recordings of Friedrich Wuhrer that I have on Vox LPs and wish they were available on CDs.)
Does anyone like the complete set by Walter Klien?
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complet ... B000001K5Q
Hi Allen. :) [Should be Lance] :D

I grew up with Walter Klien's Schubert on Vox LP's, and found them very good at the time. Then, when I started working full time, I had the money to buy Kempff, and never looked back. Kempff still reigns supreme in my heart, but I have great respect for Klien's playing. I'm glad they're still available: I've put the CDs on my want list. I haven't heard them in over a decade, and perhaps I'll discover new subtleties in his playing. Thanks for the reminder.

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:01 pm

It's 3am here in Sydney and I'm listening to Kempff playing D959 via U-Tube. I only have Pollini and Richter playing this and Kempff's version is quite different, starting right at the opening chords. He seems to focus on the rhythm of those chords throughout the first movement; I haven't heard that before; it almost becomes dance-like. The second movement is more poetic, often lyrical and not at all the "panic attack" as described by Brendel and noted in one of the comments below the U-Tube link!! There are precedents for this kind of 'digression' in a movement, of course, in late Beethoven!! Surely Schubert knew these works.

The Pollini is rather hard-driven and quite a bit faster; certainly his third movement is completely different from that of Kempff, who seems to develop his ideas motivically in a classical style rather than with an over-arching 'romantic' reading. This Kempff is very different.

Am considering whether to buy the complete sonatas now.

maestrob
Posts: 4869
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by maestrob » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:11 pm

Belle wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:01 pm
It's 3am here in Sydney and I'm listening to Kempff playing D960 via U-Tube. I only have Pollini and Richter playing this and Kempff's version is quite different, starting right at the opening chords. He seems to focus on the rhythm of those chords throughout the first movement; I haven't heard that before; it almost becomes dance-like. The second movement is more poetic and not at all the "panic attack" as described by Brendel and noted in one of the comments below the U-Tube link!! There are precedents for this kind of 'digression' in a movement, of course, in late Beethoven!! Surely Schubert knew these works.

Pollini is rather hard-driven and I've seen him at the Musikverein in 2011 playing this one and I felt he was already past it!! Do you sometimes get the feeling these artists - some of them - have played the same works just too many times?

Am considering whether to buy the complete sonatas now.
GO for it! :D Here in the U.S., amazon is offering a vinyl edition for $99, while the CDs are about $25. Well worth it, if I may say so.

Image

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:15 pm

Thanks for the tip.

That last movement of D959 is just so thoroughly Austrian and its subject is much like a hymn; I absolutely ADORE IT. And the final flourish in the coda; ecstasy. Good to follow the score on IMSLP.

(You'll notice I changed my typo just after you'd highlighted my quote: it was D959 and not D960.)

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 16948
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:09 pm

[Note: Somehow my post got attributed to Allen. I have no idea what happened.]

Absolutely - Walter Klien is a first class pianist. I have many of his recordings on several labels. Another Austrian pianist who has this music in his blood. I thought the Vox recordings of his Schubert were exceptional. Three two-CD sets were issued by Vox: 5173, 5174, and 5175. Thankfully, they are still being made available. [It is the mono-only recordings of Friedrich Wuhrer that I have on Vox LPs and wish they were available on CDs.)
Does anyone like the complete set by Walter Klien?
https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Complet ... B000001K5Q
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 2661
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by barney » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:02 pm

If I could have only one interpreter, it might be Kempff. Or Brendel. But Kempff is wonderfull poetic, as you observe.
As it happens I have 30 versions of D960, probably 20 more than anyone reasonably needs, but that would pale into insignificance compared with some collections (not looking at Lance)...

Rubinstein is special here, ditto Perahia, Curzon,and I'm really enjoying the new Zimerman that arrived last week.

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:12 pm

Right; you've convinced me here and now that I need the 'complete' Schubert Klaviersonaten von Kempff. As soon as possible. With the mercury nudging 38 degrees here today after only the end of winter a bare few weeks ago I can see I'm going to be 'her indoors' most of this dreaded summer. We seem to have skipped Spring for quite a few years now. I'll need Schubert to put the spring back into the weather!!

Just finished listening to Schubert D958 by Kempff. A series of musical vingnettes inspired by the lieder, it seems to me, following what I wrote earlier about his more 'classical' motivic style of interpretation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HZBLQh9QQw

Compare for example, the final movement, with Pollini (at 22:16): in a bit of a hurry! An overarching design which focuses on the romantic impulse, if I can put it that way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUvObtbGxfs

This Pollini is actually the recording I have.

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 16948
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:09 pm

Ho Barney! I'm not going to mention how many versions of D960 I have (too many, as usual. I love this work right alongside the A Major, Op. Posth. as well). However, you mentioned one of my most beloved pianists, Artur Rubinstein. I'm not sure people are aware that Rubinstein recorded it twice for RCA. The first version appeared on LP, later on CD. When RCA released his complete "editions," the producer discovered a second version (or maybe it was the first recorded, I cannot recall now), but the one that was held back from publication was issued so we have two versions by Rubinstein. I loved them both, though I think I prefer the one not issued previously more. My paradigm performance of D960 is the 1950s recording with Clara Haskil issued by Philips (now on Decca). I have never heard a version that I prefer more than hers. She was a supreme artist. Do you know her recording?
barney wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:02 pm
If I could have only one interpreter, it might be Kempff. Or Brendel. But Kempff is wonderfull poetic, as you observe.
As it happens I have 30 versions of D960, probably 20 more than anyone reasonably needs, but that would pale into insignificance compared with some collections (not looking at Lance)...

Rubinstein is special here, ditto Perahia, Curzon,and I'm really enjoying the new Zimerman that arrived last week.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 2661
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by barney » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:06 am

Yes, Lance, I do have that version but haven't listened to it lately. I am sure you are right though, as she is one of the most reliable of pianists.
Belle, in life we make many decisions that may be good, bad or indifferent. Investing in Kempff is definitely in the first category, and you won't regret it.

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:21 pm

Order placed just now!! Thanks. Am already listening to them on U-Tube as somebody has posted a few of them there. Hope the weather is better in Melbourne than up our way!

arepo
Posts: 417
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 6:02 pm

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by arepo » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:50 pm

I'd like to suggest three sets of Schubert sonatas that are hard to surpass in quality that have not been mentioned, as yet.
Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida are the artists and one could do no wrong in selecting any of the three as superb examples of great Schubert playing.
All very special.
cliftwood

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 16948
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Lance » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:35 pm

Yes, Lupu is outstanding as well as Schiff. Having met Uchida in Marlboro, VT last year and hearing her play, I acquired her Schubert as well. It's crazy to have so much but it is wonderful being under the spell of these superb artists - so many of them. So nice to see you here, Harris.
arepo wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:50 pm
I'd like to suggest three sets of Schubert sonatas that are hard to surpass in quality that have not been mentioned, as yet.
Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff and Mitsuko Uchida are the artists and one could do no wrong in selecting any of the three as superb examples of great Schubert playing.
All very special.
cliftwood
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

barney
Posts: 2661
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by barney » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:37 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:21 pm
Order placed just now!! Thanks. Am already listening to them on U-Tube as somebody has posted a few of them there. Hope the weather is better in Melbourne than up our way!
Thanks. Certainly a bit cooler. The jasmine is emerging now, which is lovely, but the freesias - perhaps my favourite flower - have such a short season it's already over.

Belle
Posts: 638
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Schubert Piano Sonatas

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:47 pm

My boxed set of Kempff's Schubert sonatas have just arrived and are playing!! Sound quality seems good and I've started with D664. And also have Brendel's essays "On Music" with a discussion of the Schubert sonatas; he has some very interesting things to say about observing repeats which I'll digest and discuss later.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 21 guests