Barry Douglas

Schubert: Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 3

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For the third volume in his Schubert series on Chandos, Barry Douglas presents a mix of keyboard works: the Piano Sonata No. 19 in C minor, D958, the Six Moments musicaux, D780, and two arrangements by Liszt of the songs Sei mir gegrüßt and Auf dem Wasser zu singen. This varied program shows Schubert in dramatically different lights -- as an exponent of the Classical tradition in the Beethovenian sonata; as a Romantic tone-poet in the brief character pieces; and, as re-interpreted by Liszt, as the 19th century's greatest composer of Lieder. As in the previous albums in this cycle, Douglas avoids curatorial tidiness and scholarly predictability by programming different examples of Schubert's piano music side by side, much as might have been played at one of the famous Schubertiades, thereby revealing different sources of inspiration and Schubert's responses to them. In consideration of Douglas' long-range plans for recording all of Schubert's keyboard music, the varied programming promises interesting insights and perhaps a few surprising contrasts and comparisons, which are all to the good in this repertoire, which is sometimes treated too academically. The recording, made in the Curtis Auditorium at the Cork School of Music, is quite clear and warm, though the microphone placement could have been closer to the piano to mitigate the room's spacious-sounding acoustics.

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