Dreamer, poet, radical, and visionary, Franz Schubert was a composer who stood between worlds. In his short life, he wrote music as epic as Beethoven and as perfect as Mozart; music that could bubble with life and joy and yet probe the darkest depths of the human soul â€“ or distil both experiences into pure, haunting beauty.
Schubertâ€™s music defined the Romantic age and Paul Lewisâ€™s sought-after performances are coming to define the way our age hears Schubert. In barely a decade, Lewis has emerged as one of the great musical thinkers of our time, and his relationship with Schubert is at the very heart of his artistry. Now, at the climax of a two-year exploration of Schubertâ€™s late piano music, Lewis tours the world with a series of concerts that explore the full range of Schubertâ€™s mature genius; from deceptively simple miniatures to such groundbreaking romantic masterpieces as the Wanderer Fantasy and the late piano sonatas.
“Lewis’s approach was understated, always letting the infinite succession of melody unfold naturally. The music was allowed to speak for itself without the imposition of overly self-conscious interpretative detail. What emerged all the more clearly as a result â€“ particularly in this sympathetic acoustic â€“ was an acute sense of Schubert’s extraordinary harmonies, as well as the crucial milestones in his tonal landscape. The con moto movement of the Sonata in D major, D850, by turns gently lyrical and passionate, found Lewis at his compelling best, realising Schubert’s song-like nature and, with it, some of the heartbreak.” (The Guardian)
Listen to Paul Lewis play Sonata no 19 in C minor, D. 958:
Transcriptions and paraphrases played an important part in shaping Liszt’s role as leading musical figure of his generation.
The first pianist to play the entire range of the keyboard repertory from Bach to Chopin, his historical curiosity and ambitions did not stop there. He transcribed both famous and less well known vocal and orchestral works of others in order to promote the music, and in order to challenge himself to enrich the field of piano techniques.
Schubert-Liszt: Ave Maria performed by Sandro Russo on Liszt’s 1862 Bechstein Piano:
Pianist Imogen Cooper continues her critically acclaimed Schubert Live series with the third 2-CD release of the composerâ€™s late piano music, recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
"Schubert has become even more necessary to my well-being, and I sense strongly that he is important for an audienceâ€™s well-being too." - pianist Imogen Cooper
The highly respected and acclaimed pianist Imogen Cooper is enjoying something of a renaissance with her ongoing series of Schubertâ€™s solo piano works on Avie. International accolades for the recordings abound, from NPR to the BBC, Gramophone to the New York Times.
Imogen continues her exploration of the composerâ€™s late piano music with Volume 3, recorded live at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in December 2009. Schubert was the ultimate romantic and Imogen brings out the full spectrum of his complex and colourful compositions, from the gentle German Dances, D790, and pearl-like Impromptus, D899, to the turbulent A minor Sonata, D 784, and mighty B flat Sonata, D960.
Imogen says: â€śIâ€™m not afraid of being described as a Schubert specialist,â€ť even though her active repertoire ranges from Bach to Thomas AdĂ¨s. â€śHe has taken up a lot of my waking time for more than 30 years. In fact, you could say that his songs and his piano music have sometimes been close to an obsession for me.â€ť It is more than 20 years since Cooper made a live and recorded survey of all the piano music Schubert composed from early 1823 until his death in 1828 at the age of 31. â€śOne of the reasons Iâ€™ve taken it all up again is that I feel it ten times more strongly than I did 20 years ago: the message has become more direct to me. Schubert has become even more necessary to my well-being, and I sense strongly that he is important for an audienceâ€™s well-being too.â€ť
â€śCooper’s sensitivity to the new light shed by remote keys is unfailing, and above all she tells the strange adventure of Schubert’s most tormented A minor Sonata with unerring judgment. For this account alone, the latest instalment is indispensable.â€ť BBC Music Magazine, June 2010
â€śthe poise of Cooperâ€™s playing holds one breathless…Cooperâ€™s sense of rightness of colour and her exquisite balancing of textures fully justify her reputation as one of the great Schubertians of our time.â€ť Sunday Times, 16th May 2010
Filmed during a Professional Training Workshop in New York, Franz Schubert’s late piano sonatas come to life in this performance guide that includes video clips, written commentary, and an animated score, allowing the user to simultaneously watch Mr. Fleisher teach from the keyboard and study the notated music. Select any combination of 24 separate video clips from six categories to build your own tailor-made video master class from a range of topics.
The Moments Musicaux were published only a few months before Schubertâ€™s death in 1828. Most of them were composed during 1827 or 1828, with the exception of Nos. 3 and 6, dating from 1823 and 1824 respectively.
Recordings of the Six Moments Musicaux performed by David WĂ¤rn have now been published by Piano Street.
We are happy to share with you the recordings of piece no 5 and 6 from the set for free:
Alfred Brendel is an outstanding modern exponent of Schubert’s piano music. He is capable of bringing not only the verve of this music but also its poetic intensity and intellectual depth to life with a special vibrancy.
In this unique collection – a 5 DVD box (on Naxos) at a very attractive price – he plays all of Schubert’s major works for keyboard and introduces each piece, throwing light on its compositional substance and at the same time revealing his own highly personal relationship with these masterpieces of Romantic music. The series, recorded by Radio Bremen in 1976/1977, has never yet been released for home viewing. It is a timeless and infinitely fascinating document by a pianist, who has been on the international concert scene for decades without losing his magnetism for audiences and critics worldwide.
Piano sheet music to download of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy:
In a live recording from the Amerikahaus, Munich, Friedrich Gulda reveals the versatility of his keyboard playing. On the clavichord he plays three preludes and fugues from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (in A minor BWV 889, in C major BWV 846, in A flat major BWV 886) on the piano; his own re-working of Schubert’s song Der Wanderer, ending with Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau and a selection of his own compositions.
Watch the recital here: http://www.classicaltv.com/v530/friedrich-gulda-solo-flight
*** MUSICAL HOLIDAY GIFTS FROM PIANO STREET *** Free sheet music for the pieces in the above video
(click images to open in new window):
Bach: Prelude & Fugue WTC II no 20
Bach: Prelude & Fugue WTC I no 1
Bach: Prelude & Fugue WTC II no 17
Schubert: Der Wanderer
Debussy: Reflets dans l’eau
Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000) won first prize at the International Competition in Geneva in 1946. He began going on concert tours throughout the world.
Together with JĂ¶rg Demus and Paul Badura-Skoda, Gulda formed what became known as the “Viennese troika”.
Gulda had a strong dislike of authorities like the Vienna Academy, the Beethoven Ring of which he was offered in recognition of his performances but which he refused, and even faked his own death in 1999, cementing his status as the enfant terrible among pianists. Nevertheless, Gulda is widely
regarded as one of the most outstanding piano players of the 20th century.
His piano students included Martha Argerich and the conductor Claudio Abbado. He is also remembered as an accomplished jazz-pianist, musical thinker and avant-garde artist. Although most famous for his Beethoven
interpretations, Gulda also performed the music of J.S.Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Ravel.
Considered being his most technically demanding piano composition Schubert himself said “the devil may play it” about his Wanderer Fantasy, opus 15.
It was composed in 1822 and dedicated to Emanuel Karl Edler von Liebenberg, who was a student of Hummel.
Schubert’s Diabelli Variation
Schubert wrote one variation on the well known Waltz by Diabelli, which Beethoven based his 33 Diabelli Variations on.
Diabelli was known not only as a composer but also as a publisher. In 1819 he decided to publish a volume of variations made by several composers on a Waltz of his own.
Fifty composers responded with pieces for this publication. The idea was to make one each. However, Beethoven came with 33 and his were published in a volume of their own as 33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli.
The above two works by Schubert and several other pieces have now been added to the Piano Street sheet music library, including two varation works and several smaller compositions.
See the complete list for this addition.
Opus 142 (D 935) by Franz Schubert are now available in PS Urtext edition.
This collection of four Impromptus starts and concludes with pieces in the same key (F-minor) which is one of the reasons for the speculations by Robert Schumann that parts of this opus was originally intended as a sonata (although refuted by some contemporary musicologists) but was instead published as separate pieces in order to increase the sales potential.
Schubert: Impromptu, Opus 142 No 1
A dramatic, recitativo-like introduction followed by the second theme hidden in a 16th notes texture set us in a mood for a quite large scale piece. The middle section is very peaceful featuring unique pianistic effects. The structure of the first Impromtu can be interpreted as a sonata form without a development section, supporting the view of the four Impromptus Opus 142 as movements of a single sonata.
This well known minuet-like Impromptu has a main section consisting of a simple, well-balanced melody with chordal accompaniment. A D-flat major section featuring an arpeggiated texture forms the Trio (middle section in minuet form).
The opening bars of the melody are highly reminiscent of a similar theme, from the opening of Beethoven’s Sonata op 26.
The opus concludes with one of Schubert’s most brilliant and rhytmically vital works, a quick 3/8 tempo piece containg interesting hemiola effects, virtuosic passagework as well as surprising modulations which take the piece quite far from its main key of F minor.
The impressive coda influenced by Hungarian rhythms further heightens the drama in this already intense piece which is finished off by an astonishing six octaves descending scale through the entire tonal space.