A ‘thoughtful’ performance of Schubert’s Piano Sonatas D664 & D960 by Javier Perianes

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert
WORKS: Piano Sonatas D664 & D960
PERFORMER: Javier Perianes (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMM 902282

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The last time the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes released a Schubert album was long ago in 2008. He really should speed up his delivery: this is a world that sorely needs the balm on offer from a thoughtful artist in complete accord with the composer’s reflective spirit. The last CD offered the Op. 90 Impromptus; here, he enters the larger heavenly paradise of the sonatas.

You know you’re in safe hands the moment Perianes and his Steinway strike the first notes of the haunting and masterly Sonata in B flat, D960, completed two months before Schubert’s death. The tone, like the acoustic, is gentle and warm, throwing into stark relief the shadows cast by the left hand’s bass trill – a troubling sound that keeps recurring, like a burrowing, malevolent mole. Perianes makes sure we hear its echo in the delicately jabbed repeated notes that poke through in the Andante: just one of many beautifully judged contrasts of light and dark in this sonata. Wherever Schubert’s inspiration goes, Perianes follows with an enviable mix of ease and aplomb that’s the key to his great success.

The smaller, daintier A major Sonata, D664, is programmed next, though it’s so much more than a filler. The opening Allegro’s heart-clutching theme spreads its usual tender joy. But Perianes again shows consummate skill dappling the tapestry with clouds, constantly shifting moods with a sureness of touch and attack right through to the celebratory finale.

Geoff Brown

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Listen to an excerpt of this recording here.