Schubert: 3 Klavierstücke, D946; 6 Moments musicaux, D780

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: 3 Klavierstücke, D946; 6 Moments musicaux, D780
PERFORMER: Lambert Orkis (fortepiano)
Schubert’s Klavierstücke, D946, are similar to his two better-known sets of Impromptus which Lambert Orkis has already recorded on Virgin, using a Viennese piano of about 1826. Here, he plays a new copy of a slightly earlier piano, also Viennese, and he gives it a fair thrashing, so it’s no wonder they had to go to considerable lengths to avoid extraneous noises on the recording. By the end of the genial, though robust, Moments musicaux, it’s plain that Orkis’s rather dry-sounding six-octave instrument imposes expressive limits which make 70 minutes’ listening a shade monotonous. In effect, the disc is rather a negative lesson in musical history, for this music was written for people to play themselves at home, not as material for public recitals. If you don’t think that it’s a sin to find more in it than the composer can ever have imagined (and I certainly don’t), then there’s Brendel, Radu Lupu, not to mention Curzon and Schnabel, to choose from. On its own specialised terms, this issue is excellent. Adrian Jack