In the latest chapter in Sir Andras Schiff’s ongoing documentation of Franz Schubert’s music, the great pianist plays the Four Impromptus D 899, and compositions from 1828, the last year of Schubert’s too brief life: the Three Pieces D 946 (“impromptus in all but name” notes Misha Donat in the CD booklet), the C minor Sonata D 958 and the A major Sonata D 959.
Schiff again chooses to use his fortepiano made by Franz Brodmann in Vienna, around 1820. “It is to me ideally suited to Schubert’s keyboard works,” he has said. “There is something quintessentially Viennese in its timbre, its tender mellowness, its melancholic cantabilita.”
Critics have agreed, unanimous also in their praise of Schiff’s interpretations: “I cannot think of anyone of his calibre who has mastered the fortepiano as well as the modern piano and shown such distinction on both,” wrote Stephen Plaistow in Gramophone. “In Schubert Schiff has a claim to be considered sovereign among today’s players, carrying forward the reading and interpretation of him into areas that others have not fully explored.”
Among other accolades, the first volume of Schiff’s exploration of Schubert on fortepiano was ‘Recording of the Month’ in both BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone, ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Classical Music magazine and International Piano’s ‘Choice’.