Schubert: Impromptus, D899 & D935

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Decca Legends
WORKS: Impromptus, D899 & D935
PERFORMER: Radu Lupu (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 460 975-2 Reissue (1982)
These are very special performances indeed, with the warmth and introverted passion of Lupu’s playing a constant source of wonder. The slow, sustained melodic line of the sublimated march which opens the first Book; the soft cantabile of the famous Impromptu in G flat; the aching sense of longing in the trio section of the A flat No. 4 – these have surely never been bettered. Only in the very last Impromptu could one have wished for more capriciousness. András Schiff (Decca) captures its playful character perfectly. There is much to admire in his performances, as there is in Alfred Brendel’s – particularly the earlier of his two versions for Philips. But Brendel is terribly fast in that final piece; and in the last resort Lupu’s floating lyricism and unselfconscious poetry are in a class of their own. No one who loves Schubert should be without this beautifully recorded disc. Misha Donat