Schubert: Piano Works

David Golub

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Schubert: Piano Works Review

by James Leonard

Sure, there have been better performances of the works on this disc of Schubert piano music by David Golub. So what? Sure, Sviatoslav Richter's 1963 recording of the Wanderer Fantasy is overwhelming in its virtuosity. Sure, Richter's 1971 recording of the Reliquie Sonata is unbearable in its spirituality. Sure, Richter never recorded the Drei Klavierstücke, but there are nevertheless superlative performances available from Maurizio Pollini, András Schiff, Alfred Brendel, and Wilhelm Kempff, and all of them equal if not surpass Golub's performances.

But that's not really the point, is it? After all, if the player has something to say and the ability to say it, don't his/her performances deserve to be heard? Sure they do. David Golub is a terrific pianist with a virtuoso technique, a sensitive touch, and a soulful feel for the music and he has something very important to say about Schubert's music. For Golub, the Wanderer Fantasy is one of the great single-movement piano works of the nineteenth century, and his performance forces the listener to recognize its greatness. For Golub, the "Relique" Sonata is one of the most heartrending piano works of the Romantic period, and his performance makes the listener acknowledge the rightness of his view. For Golub, the Drei Klavierstücke are among the finest short piano pieces ever composed, and his performances impel the listener to agree with his assertion. For Golub, Schubert was one of the deepest and finest composers of all time, and no one hearing his performances would dissent. And what more can one ask of a performer? Arabesque's 1993 sound is rich, warm, and clear.

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