Schubert, Ads, Mozart & Beethoven

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Ades,Mozart & Beethoven,Schubert
LABELS: Avie
ALBUM TITLE: Perspectives, Vol. 1
WORKS: Darknesse Visible; B flat Sonata, K570; A major Sonata
PERFORMER: Andreas Haefliger (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AV 0041
Never mind the enigmatic title, this is an attractively planned recital, intelligently and musically played. Best of all, perhaps, is Schubert’s early A minor Sonata, D537, whose deceptively simple middle movement spawned the rondo theme of his great A major Sonata of 1828. Andreas Haefliger takes the piece at a tempo that accords well with Schubert’s Allegretto marking – noticeably more flowing than, for instance, András Schiff’s Decca recording – and plays with an admirably light and transparent sonority. On the other hand, Haefliger’s account of the Adagio from Mozart’s B flat Sonata, K570, isn’t quite sustained enough to plumb the music’s depths. Alfred Brendel (Philips) is significantly slower and more intimate, and like Haefliger he decorates the repeats – perhaps too elaborately so for some tastes. He’s also a touch more playful in the skittish finale. A welcome encore-piece, albeit in mid-recital, is Thomas Adès’s Darknesse Visible – its pianissimo tremolos not quite as miraculously shadowy and even as they are in the composer’s own EMI recording, but Haefliger points up the piece’s origins in Dowland’s lute song ‘In Darknesse let mee dwell’ with greater immediacy. As for Beethoven’s Op. 111 Sonata, Haefliger’s account has much to offer, even if the variation finale sometimes lacks a sense of floating serenity. My ideal in this piece is still the 1951 version by Solomon (EMI), but Haefliger’s programme overall certainly gives a great deal of pleasure. The piano sound is on the bright side, especially in the Schubert, though the recording itself is admirably sonorous and clear. Misha Donat

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