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Thread: Schubert D. 960 - Opinions

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    Senior Member Romantic Geek's Avatar
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    Default Schubert D. 960 - Opinions

    Hi TC,

    I see many members talk about Schubert's Piano Sonata in Bb Major, D. 960 as one of their favorite piano works (as evidenced by some of the lists around on this website). There's a lot of enthusiasm around this piece. My question is...why?

    Don't get me wrong, I love the piece. For those that know me well, I looooove Schubert. However, when I was first acquainting myself with the sonatas, this wasn't the first one that really stuck with me. If that's the case with you too, please let me know. But I'm wondering more about those who prefer D. 960 over all the other sonatas.

    Thanks
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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    It took a long time and a lot of recordings before I began to appreciate it; indeed it can sound repetitious and not very inventive, the Finale especially if played boringly. But performance is quintessential here.

    Some major contrasts are exemplified by the Richter-versions from Praga or Eurodisc (tragic, extremely slow first movement) versus the flowing, improvisatory style of Horowitz RCA and to a lesser extent Horowitz DG. If one generally prefers romantic piano music to the slow meanderings of Schubert here, Horowitz RCA is the one coming closest to that. I love it, but many find it outrageous; it may be an "opener" as regards the work.

    Some other fine versions to my liking (meaning romantically coloured) are Sofronitsky and Damgaard (one of the best goodies in his uneven set).

    I don´t really know if D960 or D894 (due to Richter/Brilliant label, again a very controversial reading) is my favourite among the sonatas. Surely, there are a lot of rather unimportant sonatas in Schubert´s oeuvre.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jun-22-2012 at 07:56.

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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    The other day The New York Times published this brief Q&A with pianist Paul Lewis about the last page of the slow movement of D960.

    "In Schubert, there’s this sense of acceptance, I feel. Whereas Beethoven always seems to find an answer, Schubert almost never does. It’s so apparent here, in such a heartbreaking way."

    Lewis's recent recording of this sonata is one of my favorites.

    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
    And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
    -- Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar View Post
    The other day The New York Times published this brief Q&A with pianist Paul Lewis about the last page of the slow movement of D960.

    "In Schubert, there’s this sense of acceptance, I feel. Whereas Beethoven always seems to find an answer, Schubert almost never does. It’s so apparent here, in such a heartbreaking way."

    Lewis's recent recording of this sonata is one of my favorites.

    Okay, which are the other favourites?

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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Okay, which are the other favourites?
    Richter, Kempff, Uchida -- no big surprises...

    For something newer, Daniil Trifonov plays it live in recital here.
    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
    And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
    -- Nietzsche

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    I´ve heard a good deal more since my earlier post. On top of my head, at least Yudina should be mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar View Post
    Richter, Kempff, Uchida -- no big surprises...

    For something newer, Daniil Trifonov plays it live in recital here.

    Totally unexpected : no Pollini

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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    ^ Pollini is fine as well. Like much of Schubert, I find that D960 is so masterfully composed with limited technical difficulties that the music tends to outshine the interpreter.
    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
    And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
    -- Nietzsche

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    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Okay, which are the other favourites?
    The versions I have of this marvellous work - Richter, Anda, Kempff, Pollini, Lupu, Fleischer, Brendel , Annie Fischer, Haskill - all have something special to say. But the best all round for me is Stephen Kovacevich

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    Another for Kovacevich from me too.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Afanasiev(sp) - Richter ad extremis. 1st recording; the 2nd falls into the abyss.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Balthazar View Post
    The other day The New York Times published this brief Q&A with pianist Paul Lewis about the last page of the slow movement of D960.

    "In Schubert, there’s this sense of acceptance, I feel. Whereas Beethoven always seems to find an answer, Schubert almost never does. It’s so apparent here, in such a heartbreaking way."

    Lewis's recent recording of this sonata is one of my favorites.

    In fact when I read that article l thought I'd listen to Lewis and Kempff (I used his first recording) in the second movement, I couldn't see much in common. He was probably talking about the DG. The Kempff is very strange, by the way, and rather disorienting.

    It seems very strange to say that Schubert doesn't find an answer when he has two more movements to go!

    And the point about Beethoven is odd too - you know, has he "found an answer" at the end of the second movement of the Eroica? Or at the end of the first movement of op 131?

    I suspect what Lewis is saying is half baked.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Aug-07-2016 at 07:38.

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    Radu Lupu and maria Joao Pires are my favorites, although I also love Schnabel, Kempff and Richter.

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    Good recording will always show a piece better

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    Senior Member LarryShone's Avatar
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    I have it with Radu Lupu and I love it. Can't say why, it just appeals to me. Maybe we question too much?
    I'm playing the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!

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