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Although they were once neglected, Schubert's piano sonatas have received the attention they deserve. Artists including Kempff, Uchida, Schiff, and Brendel, among others, have recorded the complete cycle of the sonatas. I became interested when this set of Schubert recordings by the Austrian pianist Friedrich Wuhrer (1900 -- 1975) became available on MP3 download. Wuhrer was the first pianist to record the complete Schubert piano sonatas. The recordings appeared on the Vox label early in the 1950s. Shortly after their release, Vox recorded another complete cycle of the Schubert sonatas by Walter Klein and withdrew Wuhrer's version. Klein's version has become a landmark of its own and remains in the catalog. Vox recorded Wuhrer in mono and the sound was inferior to that of the Klein set. Wuhrer's historic reading of the Schubert sonatas remains for musical quality among the best. I was pleased that Wuhrer's Schubert is now, at least in part, readily accessible.
Schubert's sonatas are full of lyricism, shifts in mood, and spontanaiety. There is sometimes a tendency to emphasize these qualities at the expense of other aspects of Schubert's music. Wuhrer's readings have a sense of forcefulness and strength that is frequently missing in recordings of Schubert. He does not try to turn Schubert into Beethoven, but he conveys nevertheless a sense of power and firmness in this music. The interpretations are thoughtful and large-scaled and capture, the structure, sadness, and introspective character of Schubert as well as his songfullness and changes in harmonies and moods.
The recordings were "digitally remastered" for MP3 release. The sound quality is adequate. Read more ›
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