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Thread: Schubert's Last Three Piano Sonatas

  1. #31
    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JACE View Post
    I'm not a huge fan of Pollini (in general), but I think his recordings in this repertoire are superb.
    Jace.....where are you......
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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  3. #32
    Senior Member AfterHours's Avatar
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    Great to see you've become so enamored with these! His 20th and 21st, especially, sit among my all time favorite works, and even rival Beethoven's best Piano Sonatas.

    I've listened to many renditions but never heard the following selections topped for his 20th and 21st. Truly in a class of their own.

    Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat Major - Franz Schubert (1828)
    Leon Fleisher (2004) / Available on Spotify as follows: http://store.hmv.com/HMVStore/media/...4/01-62094.jpg

    Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major - Franz Schubert (1828)
    Maurizio Pollini (1983) / Available on Spotify as follows: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....MOL._SS500.jpg / Available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EClFYa3APA8
    "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." -- T.S. Eliot

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  5. #33
    Member chromatic owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterHours View Post
    Great to see you've become so enamored with these! His 20th and 21st, especially, sit among my all time favorite works, and even rival Beethoven's best Piano Sonatas.
    I think it's Beethoven who rivals Schubert here...

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  7. #34
    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chromatic owl View Post
    I think it's Beethoven who rivals Schubert here...
    We can do a poll on that subject.......
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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  9. #35
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    I have quite a number of recordings of these miraculous works. Richter, Pollini, Kempff, Lupu, Gilels, Fleisher, Perahia

    All worth a listen

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  11. #36
    Senior Member AfterHours's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    I have quite a number of recordings of these miraculous works. Richter, Pollini, Kempff, Lupu, Gilels, Fleisher, Perahia

    All worth a listen
    I agree with all of those (though I don't think I've tried Gilels yet). Off the top of my head I would add Brendel (for all three) Andsnes (particularly #21), Goode (at least 20 and 21) and, for forte-piano, Andreas Staier (20, 21) is exceptional.
    Last edited by AfterHours; May-08-2017 at 04:05.
    "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." -- T.S. Eliot

  12. #37
    Senior Member AfterHours's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chromatic owl View Post
    I think it's Beethoven who rivals Schubert here...
    Personally, I'd rank "only" (no small achievement!) Schubert's last 2 among Beethoven's greatest sonatas, though he has other exceptional ones. My top 10 between the two of them only would go something like...

    1. Beethoven 32
    2. Schubert 21
    3. Beethoven 23
    4. Beethoven 30
    5. Schubert 20
    6. Beethoven 29
    7. Beethoven 8
    8. Beethoven 31
    9. Beethoven 21
    10. Beethoven 14

    And if you're interested in a rare artist since that managed to rival both of them with a solo piano work as recently as 1981, check out Anthony Davis' rather obscure album, Lady of the Mirrors:




    Believe it or not, I'd probably rank Lady of the Mirrors as high as #2 on the above list!
    Last edited by AfterHours; May-07-2017 at 19:21.
    "We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time." -- T.S. Eliot

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  14. #38
    Member ToneDeaf&Senile's Avatar
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    For D 960, I've lately became partial to an interpretation found at YouTube by Lazar Berman, quite different from performance I own on CD. One thing that intrigues me about Berman's recording is that he takes the first movement repeat, as few do. (My CD doesn't.) Those few times I've heard others take the repeat persuaded me it was best ignored. Yet Berman makes about as good a case for its inclusion as can be imagined. In his hands I don't mind it at all, though it adds yet more length to an already lengthy movement.

  15. #39
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    The problem with ignoring the repeat is that it goes flush against Schubert's very clear intentions as evidenced by a bridge passage which specifically leads back to the repeat in question. It's certainly true that the movement becomes a very long one indeed with the repeat included, but when I hear a performance or a recording without it I get a distinct sense of the composer turning in his grave!

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  17. #40
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    Interesting that Schnabel, who I think valued following the score pretty highly, left out the repeat. And Curzon.

    (Just listening to Schnabel again, first time in years, I was struck by the highly strung quality, I think that was a contemporary criticism. Curzon on Orfeo is really outstanding, repeat or no.)
    Last edited by Mandryka; May-31-2017 at 15:22.

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  19. #41
    Senior Member lextune's Avatar
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    Any D960 without the 1st mvmt repeat is total trash. It is impossible to argue against the repeat. Without it one, quite literally, misses the peak of the mvmt. The FF trill in the bowels of the piano! How can anyone think that removing something so completely distinctive, and incredibly dramatic, can do anything but cripple Schubert's obvious intentions.

  20. #42
    Senior Member helenora's Avatar
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    and when I saw a title of a topic of this thread I thought it is about "last three pieces" ( for piano) so dear to my heart, but alas when I open the thread and read the title through it stated : "last three .....sonatas"
    Last edited by helenora; Jun-02-2017 at 15:04.
    Man muss das Leben tanzen

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  22. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by lextune View Post
    Any D960 without the 1st mvmt repeat is total trash. It is impossible to argue against the repeat. Without it one, quite literally, misses the peak of the mvmt. The FF trill in the bowels of the piano! How can anyone think that removing something so completely distinctive, and incredibly dramatic, can do anything but cripple Schubert's obvious intentions.
    I agree it's an interesting question, any ideas about the answer?

    Here are some comments by Alfred Brendel on the matter

    Another argument put forward by the exponents of the B flat sonata repeat emphasizes the amazing newness of the transitional bars; they add something to the piece that would otherwise remain unsaid and, supposedly, change the perception of its character. Even if there were not so many other factors—the generosity of the exposition, the literal recapitulation, the lyrical character of all the themes as well as of the following Andante, the balance of the movements—working against the advisability of this repeat, I would, for once, have to be at odds with Schubert’s judgment. Which elements in the course of the B flat sonata would justify the emergence of the transitional bars in question? Where are they announced? The transition is not to be compared to the irrational explosion in the Andante of the A major sonata: that has a psychological connection to the bleak melancholy of the movement’s beginning, as well as to the chromatic episodes of the preceding Allegro. By contrast, the transitional bars of the B flat sonata upset the magnificent coherence of his movement, whose motivic material seems quite unconnected to the new syncopated, jerky rhythm. Is the material or atmosphere of the transition taken up anywhere in the later movements? Should its irate dynamic outburst rob the development’s grand dramatic climax of its singularity? Most painful to me, however, is that the trill, which is so important to the understanding of the sonata’s main theme, is to be played fortissimo, while elsewhere in the movement remaining remote and mysterious. Schubert’s first draft still presents the trill, after a relatively brief exposition, in pianissimo.
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1989...s-an-exchange/
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-05-2017 at 12:47.

  23. #44
    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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    Lewis, Lupu, Sokolov.

  24. #45
    Senior Member helenora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToneDeaf&Senile View Post
    For D 960, I've lately became partial to an interpretation found at YouTube by Lazar Berman, quite different from performance I own on CD. One thing that intrigues me about Berman's recording is that he takes the first movement repeat, as few do. (My CD doesn't.) Those few times I've heard others take the repeat persuaded me it was best ignored. Yet Berman makes about as good a case for its inclusion as can be imagined. In his hands I don't mind it at all, though it adds yet more length to an already lengthy movement.
    Thank you. Berman is often forgotten, but he was an amazing pianist, what a tone. Usually they say that Richter's interpretation of Schubert is superb but compare interpretation of this sonata I find Berman is the finest among two of them.
    Clear harmony , perfect tempo , fine phrasing.
    Man muss das Leben tanzen

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