Perspectives 3

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven; Schubert
ALBUM TITLE: Perspectives 3
WORKS: Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos 15 & 23; Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat, D960
PERFORMER: Andreas Haefliger (piano)


Andreas Haefliger’s Perspectives series is his means of presenting his concert programmes on CD, and there’s certainly something to be said for offering well-balanced selections of contrasting pieces in place of the usual single-composer assemblage. Haefliger is a pianist who responds well to the music’s lyrical warmth, and his performances of Beethoven’s Pastoral Sonata, Op. 28, and the B flat Sonata of Schubert – both of them largely intimate works – have much to offer. In the opening movement of the Beethoven he varies the exposition repeat by bringing out inner voices in a new and unselfconscious way; while he finds exactly the right tone of gentle capriciousness for slow movement’s middle section. The luminous quality of Haefliger’s playing in the hauntingly beautiful Andante of the Schubert is impressive, too. However, the performances are not without their idiosyncrasies: instances include the squeezed rhythm of the quick notes in the Pastoral Sonata’s Scherzo, turning it into a ‘Scotch-snap’ that surely isn’t what Beethoven had in mind; the occasional elongated pause between paragraphs in the finale, making the piece sound rather episodic; and the over-forceful accents in the Scherzo of the Schubert. Haefliger is less at home in the demonic side of Beethoven, and his account of the Appassionata is rather short on tension in comparison with that of a more impulsive pianist such as Stephen Kovacevich (EMI). But this finely recorded recital is one that nevertheless gives a great deal of pleasure. Misha Donat