Schubert: Impromptus

Alexei Lubimov

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Schubert: Impromptus Review

by James Leonard

Listeners who have grown up with the tone of the modern concert grand piano may find the sound of the pianoforte tiny, tinny, pingy, and plunky. But for listeners with adventurous ears, the pianoforte may offer a welcome contrast with the lusher tones and heavier sonorities of the concert grand, and for them the player will be more important than the instrument. And so it is here. Performed on two beautifully restored instruments, Aleksei Lubimov's 2009 recording of Schubert's eight impromptus delivers superb accounts of the well-loved works. Though his tempos are fairly standard, his supple phrasing, subtle shading, and use of rubato give his playing great flexibility. Lubimov makes good use of his instruments by using their innate characteristics to bring out the best in Schubert's keyboard writing so that every line is clear and ideally balanced. The digital sound is more than acceptable, but it may be a tad too tightly focused on the instrument for some listeners.

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