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Andras Schiff's committed playing on 'Franz Schubert Sonatas and Impromptus' / Classical Music Sentinel

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With somewhere around 35 years of outstanding recordings to his credit, mostly for the Decca label, Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff certainly doesn't need a formal introduction. Except to say that he's always been highly respected for his clear and delicate articulation, and deeply insightful interpretations especially for the music of Mozart and Schubert. And this clarity of textures and voice separation is further enhanced in this new recording by the use of an 1820 Franz Brodmann fortepiano which produces a shallower sound than today's sonorous concert grands, and thus allows the melodic line more definition. Add the fact that the lighter strings of this instrument do not allow much sustaining power and promote a shorter decay, and muddleness is practically non-existent. Mind you this sometimes has a detrimental effect during the more passionate or thunderous passages of a piece of music, but Andras Schiff more than compensates for this labefaction with increased dynamic and expressive touches.

For example, the way in which Schiff alters his stance between the major and minor mode shifts in the second Impromptu, or how he wrings every drop of power out of this fortepiano during the more passionately affluent passages within the slow movement of the Sonata in A major. By choosing to perform the music of Schubert on this instrument, Andras Schiff clearly demonstrates that this composer never meant to bring down the heavens like Beethoven, but instead imbued everything he wrote with a light rhythmic momentum and lyrical quality.

Once your ears have adjusted to the sonic possibilities of this Franz Brodmann fortepiano you will be astonished by the superb audio engineering of this recording, and Schiff's committed playing. Recommended!

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