Schubert: Piano Sonata in A, D664; Piano Sonata in B flat, D960

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Arcana
WORKS: Piano Sonata in A, D664; Piano Sonata in B flat, D960
PERFORMER: Paul Badura-Skoda (fortepiano)
CATALOGUE NO: A 19 DDD
In the inlay notes for his new disc of Schubert Sonatas, Vol. 9 in a series played on period instruments, Badura-Skoda highlights Schubert’s fusion of Classical and early Romantic principles in his A major Sonata, D664. And the intimacy which the tonal quality of the c.1825 Graf fortepiano brings to the music underlines his point. Badura-Skoda unfolds the amiable, cantabile opening of the sonata in a way which demonstrates a profound understanding of Schubert’s expressive language. Moreover, his attention to the motivic detail which unites the three movements of the sonata, supported by subtle and imaginative pedal effects, is wholly convincing.

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The performance of the B flat Sonata of Schubert’s last year is equally well-informed. For Badura-Skoda this work is serene and nostalgic; his programme note draws attention to the melodic similarity between the sonata’s opening and the song Am Meer. Once again, the work’s architecture is shaped with true artistry as Badura-Skoda uses the special tonal characteristics of the instrument to define gesture and texture. If ever a performance were needed to demonstrate just how greatly period instruments can inform interpretations on modern instruments, this is it. For Schubertians and for those interested in keyboard music alike, this disc is indispensable. Nicholas Rast