Schubert: Impromptus D899 & D935

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Impromptus D899 & D935
PERFORMER: Andreas Haefliger (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SK 53108 DDD
Born in Berlin in 1962, and now a Swiss citizen, Andreas Haefliger studied in Berlin, Munich and Salzburg, then at the Juilliard, twice winning the Gina Bachauer Memorial Scholarship. He has subsequently performed widely, including at several international festivals.

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His performances of this much-loved and much-recorded repertoire are notable for a clean, straightforward approach. This is invariably fluent and decorous playing, though short on personality at times. Nevertheless, Haefliger’s attention to dynamics and careful phrasing, as well as the overall discipline of his highly articulate readings, offer much pleasure. Some squeeze more delicacy of feeling out of Schubert, but Haefliger negotiates the music’s rhythmic and harmonic corners successfully and indeed with finesse.

Especially good is his decisive yet tonally refined approach to the large F minor Impromptu (D935 No. 1), and the impressive sweep he brings to the following A flat piece, where he captures much of its essential ambiguity of mood. There is humour, and no excessive sentiment, in his reading of the third of the set, and he brings a sharp edge to the spirited final piece. The prize of the first set is the warm singing line of the famous G flat Impromptu.

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The recording responds to his instrument’s healthy bass, but there is a lack of immediacy, and not quite enough depth to the tone. George Hall