Vladimir Feltsman

Franz Schubert: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2

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Continuing his series of the piano music of Franz Schubert for Nimbus, Vladimir Feltsman offers thoughtful readings of the Piano Sonata in A major, D 664 (1819) and the Piano Sonata in B flat major, D 960 (1828), with the 12 Grätzer Walzer, D 924 (1827) placed as an interlude between the longer works. While the Sonata in A major is a relatively youthful composition on Schubert's all too brief time line, Feltsman doesn't treat it as a lightweight piece, but expands on it with a leisurely pacing, long-breathed phrasing, and considerable rubato, which have the effect of stretching it out toward the dimensions of the later sonatas. This helps balance the program, because the Sonata in B flat major is quite expansive and, as the last of Schubert's sonatas before his premature death, the most fraught with significance. Here, Feltsman's conception is perhaps too loose and spread-out, and the music seems rhapsodic in expression, rather than considered in terms of form or shaped for dramatic impact. Even so, by gradually unfolding the sonata with a feeling of quiet reverie, Feltsman identifies Schubert as a Romantic and conveys the music with introspection and poetic sensitivity. Nimbus' recording is clean and reasonably close-up, so every detail is fully audible.

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