Author Topic: Schubertiade!  (Read 32594 times)

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Offline Todd

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2015, 02:53:55 PM »




Jean-Claude Pennetier's twofer.  The first disc is given over to a 48 minute take on the G Major sonata, the longest of the versions in this glob of Schubert discs.  That's as long as Richter, but whereas Richter's overall duration is due mostly to the crazy long opening movement, Pennetier plays a longer than normal opening movement, and then plays every other movement noticeably slower than normal, too.  So, if you like slow for the sake of being slow, this recording should be short-listed.  The slowness is so pervasive that it begins to distract at times.  The opening movement does have some lovely and serene passages, but it also introduces Pennetier's mannerism of dynamic extremes.  The loudest passages are extremely loud, and most of the surrounding music is notably quiet.  This reaches its apex in the often hammered out Menuetto, where the constantly vocalising Pennetier also exaggerates right hand playing.  The final movement is oddly stilted much of the time.  This is an idiosyncratic and not particularly satisfying recording.

The second disc contains a longer than normal D959.  Here, the slower tempi aren't as pronounced, and the effect less deleterious.  In fact, the tempi don't cause any harm.  The first movement unfolds at a nice pace, though the extreme dynamic contrasts detract as in D894, but not nearly as much.  The overall feel, the overall mood sounds righter to my ears.  The Andantino is fantastic.  Here, Pennetier's dynamic contrasts do work, and his phrasing, his rubato, his balance of voices, his everything really works.  The playing is still mannered, but everything jells.  Likewise, the Scherzo works well.  The outer sections have nice rhythmic flair, and the trio is slow and introspective.  The occasionally liesurely Rondo flows along nicely, with nicely lyrical playing much of the time, but Pennetier plays some of right hand playing with a not unappealing flintiness at times.  This is definitely the more succesful of the two works in this twofer, and it has some real high points, but I can't say that it matches my favorites.  Sound is good but not SOTA.  A mixed bag.
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Offline Holden

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2015, 04:25:13 PM »
I like my Wanderer with a little of the brimstone to it, like an agitated march to the hangman's noose (those left hand trills should invoke this). To that end I enjoy Katchen's 1958 recording. Unfortunately long OOP but may be somewhere online.



It's on Spotify and I'm enjoying it very much. Must go back and compare it to the Richter which has been my favourite. I suspect that this may replace it.
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Holden

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2015, 05:54:21 PM »
It's on Spotify and I'm enjoying it very much. Must go back and compare it to the Richter which has been my favourite. I suspect that this may replace it.

Great, Holden! :)


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Offline Holden

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2015, 10:40:55 AM »
It's on Spotify?  I cannot find it.  Can you post a link?

Spotify doesn't work with links (well, not for me anyway). I typed Julius Katchen into the search engine, selected him as artist, selected 'see all albums' and scrolled down to "Julius Katchen: the Decca Recordings 1949 - 1968" and it's on Disc 2.

https://open.spotify.com/album/6pGvF5n6c2L1s25qd8D3Mq

is what I came up with when I right clicked on the above title.

Good luck, I certainly enjoyed hearing this performance.

BTW, there are some other excellent recordings in this set from Decca.
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Holden

Offline Holden

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2015, 02:43:21 PM »
Where are you located?  I used the lnk and came up with the album (still couldn't find it by searching, though) - but almost the entire second half is grayed-out for me.  I can't play the Wanderer Fantasie for some reason probably related to regional licensing restrictions.

Oh well.  Thanks anyway.

Interesting that some selections are greyed out. I'm in Australia and I have Spotify premium though that should not make a difference to the free version - you just have to put up with the ads. If you look further down the list, there is a solo version which from the sound quality is probably taken from an LP. Same performance though.
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Holden

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2015, 03:46:30 PM »
BTW, there are some other excellent recordings in this set from Decca.

There sure are. Interesting about the unavailability to sanantonio. It may be no coincidence that this set is available to you, Holden, but not here in the States (and elsewhere?). For some reason, the brains behind that old Katchen series decided it would be a good thing to release about half the series internationally while keeping the other half as a Decca Australia exclusive.

So back then I actually had to order this particular volume direct from Australia through Buywell. It wasn't available anywhere else. Not even Amazon as an import. That's changed now for whatever reason.

So this may factor into things somehow. 
 
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Todd

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2015, 04:26:52 AM »




As if to offer a respite from slow Schubert, the lovely young Weiyin Chen offers a nicely brisk opening movement – or as brisk as a 17'39'' Molto moderao e cantabile can offer.  The slow passages are fairly conventional and quite lovely, but the faster playing is notably faster than the versions I've listened to the last couple weeks, and most other versions, too.  This quicker playing results in a less lovely tone and hints of metal, but that isn't make or break.  It would definitely be more of a make if the tension were ratcheted up even more.  The rest of the sonata is fairly conventional in terms of timing, and the approach is ever so slightly on the harder side, though never harsh or ugly.  There's some zest to the playing, the Allegretto, in particular.  I can't say that it matches Fray or Lifits or Schiff from this batch, nor does it match up to older established favorites.

Since this thread is all about Schubert, all I'll say about her Schumann is that it is quick, well played, and entertaining.  It can't really compare to Argerich or Levitzki, but that's a pretty tall order. 
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2015, 07:31:46 AM »




Hot damn!  I had reservations about David Fray’s prior Schubert disc, but I have no reservations here.  The best analogy I can think of is to proper exposures in photography.  Sometimes, even slightly under- or overexposed images can take away some of the impact of a photo, but when the exposure is perfect, the photo is perfect.  If perhaps Fray’s playing on the prior disc was slightly underexposed, here it is properly exposed, and with the Zeiss-like perfection of his playing, this disc is a keeper, and then some.

The disc opens with D894.  Fray's tempo is just a bit slow, but rarely have I heard the first movement flow so perfectly.  Fray's emphasis throughout is on melody.  The left hand playing, while clear and perfectly controlled, is subdued.  Whether that's the playing or the piano or the recording, or some combination of all three, I don't know, and while it ultimately constrains the loudness of the climaxes, it does not in any way hinder the music.  If anything, it creates a self-contained sonic world where everything is proportioned just right, and beauty reigns supreme.
  The Andante flows along much the same way, and Fray does put a bit more oomph into the loudest passages.  The Menuetto likewise flows smoothly and beautifully.  The Allegretto is astoundingly good.  Brisk, crisp, and beautiful the whole time, Fray snaps out some chords with a simultaneously firm and gentle touch, imparting what I can only describe as charming wit.  This D894 is right up there with the very best.

Fray follows this up with a Hungarian Melody D817 that is essentially perfect.  It far transcends Andras Schiff's new recording, not least because of Fray's almost unlimited nuance in the right hand playing. 

The next two works are for piano four hands, and here Fray is joined by one if his teachers, and Debussyan of note, Jacques Rouvier.  The D940 Fantasie remains somewhat small in scale, as well as generally light in tone, with a lively Scherzo.  Fray and Rouvier can and do build up tension and scale nicely on occasion, as in the fugue near the end.  The Allegro D947 concludes the disc.  It's a piece I've only listened to a few times before from the Pires/Castro duo.  Fray and Rouvier impart liveliness and intensity in equal measure, and the textures sound comparatively thick, but the Schubertian melodiousness remains.  It's a strong closer.  (The duo pieces are good enough, D940 especially, that I wish more versions were out there.  I've got a few other versions – Lupu/Perahia, a couple with Pires – but these are good enough to warrant more recordings for obsessive collectors.  Maybe Mr and Mrs Herbert Schuch will get around to recording these, and other, works.)

This is a superb disc, one of the best I've bought this year, and proof that the erstwhile majors can, on occasion, still crank out tip-top shelf stuff.  I will be exploring more of Fray's recordings.  Now, when will he record with his father-in-law?

First, respect to you for such an accurate description, I'm talking about the bit in bold. After listening to it I sampled a bunch of other d894/i's, and most pianists I found balanced the music with an eye to beauty and melifluousness, though I think that Fray does it really well.

But the most exciting thing for me isn't Fray, it's that I found a recording which takes the polar opposite approach to the balances of LH and RH, a recording which maximises tension and dissonance rather than beauty. It's Claudio Arrau's, one of his final recordings.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 07:34:40 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2015, 03:56:25 PM »



It's been years since last I listened to David Korevaar's LvB sonata disc, and my faded memory was of a talented pianist with a big sound and unique ideas.  If he didn't crack the top ten in any of the sonatas I listened to, he didn't need to.  Fast forward to 2015, and his nearly hot off the press recording of D894 and D959 on MSR caught my eye.  These are the same two sonatas that Pennetier covered, but Korevaar manages to squeeze both onto one disc, with time to spare.

Part of that is achieved through a brisk G Major sonata, without first movement repeat.  Almost everything else is there.  Korevaar makes the piece sing.  He plays with admirable clarity.  He arpeggiates some chords in both the opening and closing movements to good effect.  He plays with larger than average scale – no dainty playing this!  The one thing that is missing, or at least not as pronounced as it can be, is dynamics, particularly on the soft end, and especially in the opening movement.  While Korevaar never thunders unnecessarily, he also never seems to achieve a truly satisfying ppp sound.  Has David Fray spoiled me?  Anyway, this is something of a quibble, because overall the sonata is excellent.

D959 is better yet.  Korevaar's big sound imparts a sense of scale and drama that really works.  The opening movement is swift but not rushed, and turbulent but controlled.  The Andantino has some stark, cool playing in some passages, and Korevaar deploys some rubato that can catch the listener off guard, but it still works.  There are a couple times where some transitions seem a bit stiff, and this also occurs in the Scherzo, but in that movement, the energy, and sparkle up high and heft down low far more than offset a second or two that I wish were different.  The final movement largely alternates between really large scaled yet lyrical playing, and more subdued but admirably dextrous playing, especially in the melodies.  The whole thing is extremely fine.   

Sound for the disc is superb, and Korevaar's Shigeru Kawai sounds grand indeed.  This disc trounces Pennetier's twofer.  Perhaps neither performance here is a top five performance, or maybe even a top ten performance, but then, they do not need to be.  I must say after listening to this, I would really love to hear Korevaar take on the Brahms concertos. 

One additional quibble: movement timings are swapped for the two sonatas.  How hard is that to get right?
 
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Offline Mr. Three Putt

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2015, 02:03:50 PM »
First things first. I love this thread and all things Schubert really. I'm a bit short on time now so I'll start with D960 and come back later for more. I own Brendel, Colombo, Perahia, Richter, and Uchida and currently prefer Uchida's version. The flow is amazing and her delicate touch is on full display. I haven't heard the Colombo or Perahia enough to form opinions but that will come. Brendel is old reliable for me and rarely disappoints. The slow tempo Richter utilizes in movement 1 is a deal breaker for me. I love Richter as a performer but I'll get my Schubert elsewhere. At least for now and with the B Flat. I also love Uchida's Moments Musicaux and highly recommend this set.

-M3P

Online Mandryka

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2015, 01:48:15 AM »
First things first. I love this thread and all things Schubert really. I'm a bit short on time now so I'll start with D960 and come back later for more. I own Brendel, Colombo, Perahia, Richter, and Uchida and currently prefer Uchida's version. The flow is amazing and her delicate touch is on full display. I haven't heard the Colombo or Perahia enough to form opinions but that will come. Brendel is old reliable for me and rarely disappoints. The slow tempo Richter utilizes in movement 1 is a deal breaker for me. I love Richter as a performer but I'll get my Schubert elsewhere. At least for now and with the B Flat. I also love Uchida's Moments Musicaux and highly recommend this set.

-M3P

For D 960 I listened to a handful recently ans was astonished by how wonderful Yudina Is, for the way she changes tempos like a Furtwangler of the piano or something- I have an uncommercial transfer from the LP and that helps, as the Vista Vera transfer is imperfect. For Moments Musicaux, the pianist who impressed me most was Youri Egerov. , because in a way I can't explain right now, he makes them sound more modern. I hate the 19th century so it's nice to find non 19th century sounding performances. I heard a lot of Uchida's Schubert in concert, in a half a dozen recitals dedicated to Schubert and Schoenberg. I remember the Schoenberg better than the Schubert.

In 960 you must have the repeat, or you're leaving out the best bit of the first movement, and I vaguely remember Uchida leaves it out. Why do pianists do that - you're a musician aren't you? Maybe you have an answer better than "to fit it on one side."
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 02:02:27 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2015, 07:01:57 AM »
The most idiomatic (in the good sense of the word) D960 I´ve ever heard is by Yvonne Lefebure. It´s coupled with some equally interesting Davidsbundlertanze on this disc:



I can let you guys have it, FLAC or mp3. Please PM me if interested.
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Offline Mr. Three Putt

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2015, 10:01:54 AM »
In 960 you must have the repeat, or you're leaving out the best bit of the first movement, and I vaguely remember Uchida leaves it out. Why do pianists do that - you're a musician aren't you? Maybe you have an answer better than "to fit it on one side."

I'm guessing it could be a time constraint but that's unlikely. I'm usually a fan of Schubert repeats so I understand what you mean here. A good example being Schubert 9 where my go-to versions are Muti and Minkowski for repeats, yet occasionally I pull out my Bohm. It's probably my favorite version albeit without the repeats. It seems to be a more recent thing with Schubert to include the repeats as many of the war era conductors did not.

Online Mandryka

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #33 on: October 07, 2015, 10:45:49 PM »
The most idiomatic (in the good sense of the word) D960 I´ve ever heard is by Yvonne Lefebure. It´s coupled with some equally interesting Davidsbundlertanze on this disc:



I can let you guys have it, FLAC or mp3. Please PM me if interested.

She makes Schubert sound like Beethoven -- you know, moving forward in a determined way towards a goal.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:02:34 PM by Mandryka »
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2015, 11:00:37 PM »
It seems to be a more recent thing with Schubert to include the repeats as many of the war era conductors did not.

I think Richter was the first to record the 960 repeat in 1957.

In 960 if you don't take the repeat you lose the ominous bass trill. It's not just a repetition of music previously heard. I wonder if people don't take the repeat because  the trill doesn't fit their picture of Schubert. You know, "placid Schubert." 
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:45:29 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mr. Three Putt

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2015, 03:15:47 AM »
I think Richter was the first to record the 960 repeat in 1957.

In 960 if you don't take the repeat you lose the ominous bass trill. It's not just a repetition of music previously heard. I wonder if people don't take the repeat because  the trill doesn't fit their picture of Schubert. You know, "placid Schubert."

It appears I'll be doing some reevaluating on this, as I may be suffering from "first version favoritism" thanks to Mr. Brendel. Brendel was my first upgrade in Schubert's sonatas and certainly my most played to date. Not only does he not take the repeats, but he's lobbied against them. Uchida does play the repeats, at least in the set I own, and I see exactly what you mean now. It's a relatively new set for me and I'll be doing some focused listening today. The same thing happened to me with the Schubert 9/Bohm. It was the first S9 I ever owned and I was completely unaware of the repeats. After hearing them (I like mvt 1 repeat but mvt 3 is essential) a new world opened up and I began paying close attention to run times.

Note: I may be in the minority here but the repeat in Beethoven 9/2 is not for me. It sounds like the record skipped and started over.

Offline Mr. Three Putt

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #36 on: October 10, 2015, 12:33:24 PM »
The most underrated piece of music Schubert ever composed, in my humblest of opinions. The brilliant Rondeau Brillant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCMHH_rejP8

Offline amw

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #37 on: October 10, 2015, 08:04:11 PM »
In 960 you must have the repeat, or you're leaving out the best bit of the first movement, and I vaguely remember Uchida leaves it out. Why do pianists do that - you're a musician aren't you? Maybe you have an answer better than "to fit it on one side."
iirc Alfred Brendel was against the repeat in 960 because the first ending contains material that is too different from the overall character of the movement. Someone else (Rosen maybe?) argued that the difference makes it imperative to keep the repeat and compared omitting it to cutting off a limb.

I suspect a lot of people leave out the repeats in Schubert because he writes movements that (with repeats) are very long, with recapitulations that follow the expositions note-for-note (so you basically hear the same material three times, just the third time in a different key), and they just get bored. Or think the audience will get bored, which is more or less the same thing. Or they're taking an inappropriately late-Romantic "endless melody" view of Schubert that severs him from his Classical tradition and makes the music sound rootless and vague.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #38 on: October 10, 2015, 11:53:20 PM »
I think I once read that Brendel skipped the repeats so he could play the last 3 sonatas on one evening without making the recital unduly long. But this seems not a very good reason, so he might never have said that.

I tend to favor having the repeats, but I think in some cases there are plausible reasons for skipping them.*

If there is a long prima volta as in Schubert D 960 there is too much music skipped if the repeat is missing. If there is not and the movement is already rather long and repetitive (like the finale of the Great C major), it might work better without repeat. Schubert really is a special case, I believe, for the reasons mentioned. Another point is that for some of his movements (like the 1st in D 960 and 894) there is a tradition of playing them very slowly, so they become even longer. Apparently there are some listeners (and musicians) who seem to think that those overlong "meditative" pieces are exactly what Schubert wanted but I do have my doubts about that... Schubert could be, even in his last works in some respects surprisingly "formulaic"; the sometimes literal repetitions in the recap (something one will hardly ever find in Haydn), the clinging to the standard 4 movements with often apparently too slight or cheerful 3rd and 4th movements etc.

*this also applies to double bar repeats of the "second part", i.e. development and recap in many works of Mozart and Haydn (and some early Beethoven and Schubert as well).
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Schubertiade!
« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2015, 12:38:59 AM »
. Schubert could be, even in his last works in some respects surprisingly "formulaic"; the sometimes literal repetitions in the recap (something one will hardly ever find in Haydn), the clinging to the standard 4 movements with often apparently too slight or cheerful 3rd and 4th movements etc.



The challenge is to makes sense of this. Saying that he just wrote bad music which we can improve be leaving bits out, that's always a possibility, it may be right. But I think it's best to keep it as a last resort, better to try to find a way to be more charitable I think.

I'm not saying I've found the way, but I do think that resetting expectations away from Beethoven style vigorous movement to a goal is a start.

Repetitions, even quasi literal ones, can be meaningful, in the context of music dealing with time, identity, memory, change, eternity.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 12:43:19 AM by Mandryka »
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