Vladimir Feltsman

Franz Schubert: Piano Sonatas Vol. 3

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The third volume in Vladimir Feltsman's series of the piano music of Franz Schubert offers two of the piano sonatas in related keys, the Piano Sonata No. 7 in E flat major, D 568, and the Piano Sonata No. 19 in C minor, D 958. Separated by eleven years, these sonatas could be described as "early" and "late," since D 568 was composed in 1817 with the first group of sonatas, as a revised version of the Sonata in D flat major, D 567, while D 958 was written in the fall of 1828, just before Schubert's premature death. With this distance in time comes differences of approach, because the early sonatas were somewhat experimental in nature, while the three sonatas of Schubert's final year are expansive but surprisingly conventional in form. Yet even with these changes, the spirit of Schubert's music is consistent, as is evident in its abundant lyricism and characteristic fluctuations of harmony and tonality. Feltsman gives subtle readings that play off these shadings of mood and expression, and his use of rubato and fluid dynamics keep the music suspended in a state of tension and emotional ambiguity. Nimbus offers clean sound and natural resonance, so the music is crisply detailed with a pleasant background ambience.

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