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Schubert Sonatas on Streicher fortepiano 1826
and Steinway D Concert Grand

F. Schubert
Works for fortepiano - Volume 3
Sonatas in A minor D845; E major D459; B flat major D960; B major D575

Jan Vermeulen


At first hearing there is a certain austerity about Vermeulen's chosen instrument (Nannette Streicher fortepiano at Castle Vilain XIII in Belgium) but it quickly transports you into a simalucrum of what the experience of Schubert's music may have been in his own time. His interpretations are carefully considered and have won widespread praise.

One of my fortepianist correspondents agrees that
- - This music benefits very much from using original instruments with its warm and gemuetlich sound, when the melody could be so beautifully enveloped by the harmony - - but he would have liked a more Chopinesque rubato: - - the element of self-reflection shouldn't be avoided. - - On this particular instrument I miss the special colour or the moderatore, the middle pedal, also known as Schubert-pedal - - Vermeullen's approach to the pedalling seems to be too dogmatic for me. - - one should give more attention to the soft humor and to the hints of self-doubt and self-irony in this music - - The "speaking" rubati and declamation character of the piece are most enjoyable - - Throughout the recording, whenever it comes to a melody and accompaniment, Vermeullen makes the accompaniment totally dependent on the tune - - there is another option, which makes melody-accompaniment relations more dramatic. One can try to preserve the steadiness of the accompaniment's constant rhythmic pattern whilst allowing the melody flow with independent expression and, if necessary, with some rubato, which often means that hands or voices are not always together at some points. - - MS

See also http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/pianists.htm#tv [Editor]


Franz Schubert: Piano Sonatas D 537 · D 894
Helmut Lachenmann (*1935) Variationen über ein Thema von Franz Schubert; Guero

Herbert Schuch

Oehms Classics OC 593


This imaginative juxtaposition catches the eye and the ear is not disappointed. Schuch is a young pianist with a comprehensive virtuoso technique, but in no way at the expense of a fastidious ear and tonal awareness, which makes his Schubert playing on a Steinway D (the instrument not specified on the information supplied) comparable with that of the most famous specialists, and goes far to reconciling me with his choice of a modern piano. There is not a bar which is not thought through and lovingly expressed.

Schuch's phrasing in the lovely G major D 894 (sometimes dubbed Fantasie-Sonata, one of my top favourites and clearly amongst his too) is spacious without ever becoming portentous, and the harmonies and their significance are brought out by his voicing of the chords, as too in Lachenmann's Schubert variations, which makes this a natural, if unobvious, coupling.

A pity that the later, more radical, Lachenmann is represented only by the brief Guero.

soon, please, with more Schubert !

The liner notes essay is reproduced in full on the Oehms website; that should become routine with the increasing popularity of download sales.

Peter Grahame Woolf