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Thread: What are your favorite Schubert impromptus recordings?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question What are your favorite Schubert impromptus recordings?

    As above.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    I have Radu Lupu on Decca, always been happy with that, never looked for other recordings.
    No internet (and therefore no TC) for me from end October until end November.

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    Senior Member Ras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I have Radu Lupu on Decca, always been happy with that, never looked for other recordings.
    Same here - nobody beats Radu Lupo. I have tried Uchida, Schiff, Kempff and probably a few more, but Lupo beats them all.
    I should add though that it was the first one I got.
    "I only have a hunch in what I've become expert." - Leonard Cohen

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    I do almost all listening to these from larger schubert boxsets of Brendel, Lupu, Uchida......

    But I do also have very good solo CDs by Perahia & Zimerman

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Oct-15-2018 at 12:42.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    As above.
    Yudina, Sofronitsky

    And then Edwin Fischer, Arrau, Horszowski
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-15-2018 at 08:29.

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Yudina, Sofronitsky

    And then Edwin Fischer, Arrau, Horszowski
    This post generates a buy, daughter Viviana performs my favorite set of Mozart keyboard concertos using forte piano, turns out this rarely recorded artist also has a Schubert impromptu disc also using forte piano (later model)........I like, I buy

    Last edited by DarkAngel; Oct-15-2018 at 15:18.

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Yudina, Schnabel, Lupu.

    I also have Brendel, Kempff, Demus (op.142), E.Fischer, Zimerman, Goldsand (not uninteresting), Arrau Philips + some individual ones.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Oct-15-2018 at 15:41.

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    I'll listen to Goldsand

    Interesting how none of us have been particularly impacted by Sokolov since he signed with DG, I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm less interested in this sort of music than I used to be.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-15-2018 at 16:23.

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    Junior Member Jokke's Avatar
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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    I have the Pires recording as posted by Jokke above. The music - and the playing - recommends itself but the sleevenotes are pretentious and irrelevant to a preposterous degree.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    This post generates a buy, daughter Viviana performs my favorite set of Mozart keyboard concertos using forte piano, turns out this rarely recorded artist also has a Schubert impromptu disc also using forte piano (later model)........I like, I buy
    Really love these done with period instrument, Viviana uses 1819 Conrad Graf fortepiano (McNulty replica)

    https://www.sofronitsky.com/en/proje...no/conrad-graf


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    Junior Member Konsgaard's Avatar
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    I have listened to so many recordings of these pieces. Perahia ticks all the boxes for me. Lupu is also highly considered but way too idiosyncratic. Pires is nearly-ideal (but has the best sleeve notes - even though people tend to dislike "artistic" or subjective views on classical music, that's why reviewers hate these kind of notes).

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    1. Edwin Fischer's would be my 'historical' first choice, closely followed by Arthur Schnabel (who was an early champion of the solo piano music of Schubert, starting in the 1930s). Neither recording is immaculately played, but the interpretations and phrasing are fascinating & insightful. Both recordings go with me to my desert island, which is not to say there haven't been some equally fine recordings in more recent times, as there have been, in my estimation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FXwHdDdqqk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfYi...E_itUsnn9PSF_6

    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impr...orr&ref=sr_1_2
    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Sona...orr&ref=sr_1_1: By the way, these new remasters of Schnabel's Schubert from original sources sound excellent, maybe the best to date? (I own the Dante set, which I like, but frustratingly it doesn't include the 8 Impromptus: https://www.amazon.com/Arthur-Schnab...r_1_fkmrnull_1)

    2. I would also put Walter Gieseking's Schubert Impromptus in same class as Fischer & Schnabel's: https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Schu...0744926&sr=8-3

    3. As an alternative view, Sviatoslav Richter's Impromptus are very heart-felt, but maybe too much so (nor did Richter record them in their entirety as a set): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Aj3IVqliNI

    Personally, I prefer Emil Gilels to Richter in the Impromptus, as Gilels was one of the great Schubert players I've heard in my life (his 6 Moments Musicaux go with me to my desert island). But, unfortunately, there is no commercial recording of the Impromptus from Gilels on a major label, only his live concerts from Russian archives:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39kjj5shLdc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=732qL7RSlIc

    Among other Russian pianists, Dmitri Bashkirov's recording of No. 3, Op. 90, D. 899 is very good too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x44hkiD1F-A.

    I've not heard Valery Afanassiev's recent concert recordings, which include 3 Schubert Impromptus, but have liked some of his late Schubert Piano Sonatas in the past: https://www.amazon.com/VALERY-AFANAS...26&ref=sr_1_26

    Lazar Berman was another very fine Schubertian, but as far as I know, he didn't recorded the 8 Impromptus.

    I've not heard Yudina or Sofronitsky in this music.

    4. I find the Impromptus recordings by Wilhelm Kempff to be engaging, but Kempff isn't among my top 3 or 4 favorite Schubert pianists (though I should acknowledge that no less than Alfred Brendel has stated that Kempff was "the best of us" in Schubert):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM4Wx8p63Ec
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEsIHwHVcj0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L-Pvi20pVw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kft2QgqsaDU

    5. A former student of Edwin Fischer's, Alfred Brendel's 1970s analogue recording for Philips won a rosette award from the old Penquin Guide, and I agree, it's very, very good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=149U...TXfOF-gaGZaMKR, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6RJW_0Z8CQ.

    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Comp...1-4&ref=sr_1_4
    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impr...17&ref=sr_1_17
    & in superior AMSI remasters, a highly recommendable discount box set: https://www.amazon.com/Brendel-Spiel...f=sr_1_fkmr0_2

    6. Radu Lupu's Decca recording is excellent too, but it was recorded early in his career in 1982 (https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impr...orr&ref=sr_1_1 ), and Lupu may play this music better in concert, nowadays. For example, here's a clip of a Carnegie Hall concert I attended in 2002 (twenty years after his Decca recording), where Lupu opened the concert with Schubert's Impromptu in c, Op. 90, no.1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-1vPV_e_p4

    and: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzCbLCVX0gA

    7. In the digital era, I've most liked Maria Joao Pires in the 8 Impromptus, along with Murray Perahia, Andras Schiff, and Michel Dalberto. Dalberto and Schiff don't get mentioned enough for their fine Schubert, in my view. Dalberto also has the advantage of having recorded virtually all of Schubert's solo piano music for Denon, so he has special insights: https://www.discogs.com/Michel-Dalbe...lease/11192727. However, if pressed, I'd probably pick Pires as my favorite Schubert player of the digital era (being that my favorite recordings by Brendel are generally his analogue recordings).


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48V9eTr1-W0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL0FaQj8JYE
    https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impr...X40VVW4Y5XS4M7

    I wasn't overly keen on Krystian Zimerman's DG recording, occasionally finding his interpretative touches to be a bit self-conscious and fussy. Zimerman is excellent in Chopin & Mozart, but I didn't find him a convincing Schubertian. I think very highly of Vladimir Ashkenazy's Schubert playing, but didn't find his 4 Impromptus to be quite as involving as those mentioned above (by Pires, Schiff, Lupu, Brendel, etc.). Mitsuko Uchida's Impromptus are good too, but at times I found them overly precious & understated or too softly reticent, though poetic & sensitive. There is a second digital Philips recording from Brendel as well, which is good too: https://www.amazon.com/Schubert-Impr...T5JNWT3E030604, but I prefer Brendel's earlier Philips recording.

    8. Among Impromptus recordings on period pianos, I've liked Paul Badura-Skoda on Astree, Alexei Lubimov, & Jan Vermeulen. I haven't heard Viviana Sofronitsky, or Melvyn Tan in this music. (Unless I'm mistaken, Malcolm Bilson hasn't recorded the Impromptus, although he did make very fine recordings of the complete Schubert Piano Sonatas for Hungaroton. I expect at some point Bilson's former student, Kristian Bezuidenhout will likely record them, since he's been accompanying various tenors in Schubert's lieder in recent years.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sj1NUst_Ec
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8b1...XFpCnmcZsKVbwq
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak3EjWrxtuw

    My two cents.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Oct-28-2018 at 20:28.

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