Schubert

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Erato
ALBUM TITLE: Bertrand Chamayou: Schubert
WORKS: Wanderer-Fantasie D760; Drei Klavierstücke, D946; 12 Ländler, D790; Allegretto D915; Ländler No. 12, D366 etc.
PERFORMER: Bertrand Chamayou
CATALOGUE NO: 463 707

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As Bertrand Chamayou explains in his booklet note, this CD was inspired by the idea of a ‘Schubertiade’ evening. Together with assorted shorter works are two much larger statements: the Wanderer Fantasy, and the Three Piano Pieces, D946, which Chamayou convincingly suggests were intended for a third cycle of Impromptus left incomplete. Chamayou’s impressive reserves of articulation and firepower seem a touch stretched by the finale of the Wanderer Fantasy (compared, say, with Murray Perahia’s recording), but elsewhere his tight-reined, skilfully paced virtuosity and musicianship excel, while his expressive touch in Liszt’s Schubert song-transcriptions is state-of-the-art.

In miniatures like the 12 Ländler the unique Schubertian brand of unpretentious magicianship can be elusive, and sometimes Chamayou doesn’t quite seem to capture it (as, for instance, Alfred Brendel unerringly used to). But he does find the musical wavelength of each of a pair of winsome rarities – the spare and poised Allegretto, D915, and the little Kupelwieser-Walzer supposedly improvised by Schubert at a friend’s wedding, and passed on by memory through later Viennese piano-playing generations until Richard Strauss wrote it down in 1943.

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Malcolm Hayes