Vladimir Ashkenazy

Schubert: Sonata in D major, D. 850, Op. 53

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Firm but supple, agile but strong, melodic but sonorous, Vladimir Ashkenazy's 1975 recording of Schubert's D major Piano Sonata, D. 850, was, in its time, a wonderful addition to the young Russian expatriot's growing catalog. In its reissued form here, it serves to remind listeners of the now-mature pianist/conductor's youthful mastery. A large-scale work in four movements, Schubert's D major Sonata is more interested in progress and development than his more meditatively expansive or more ecstatically lyrical sonatas, and Ashkenazy's performance is cogent, compelling, and very muscular. He breathes with Schubert's melodies, but more importantly, he races with Schubert's propulsive tempos. In the brief encore of four dances, Ashkenazy trips the light fantastic in performances witty, bouncy, and altogether engaging. Produced by James Walker and engineered by John Dunkerley, Decca's stereo was full, deep, and amazingly detailed in its time and sounds even more vivid in this digital remastering.

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