Russian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja’s focus on the lyrical dimension in Schubert’s D899 Impromptus bears the result of highlighting their inner affinities with the lieder. The pianist’s articulation is wonderfully clear and transparent, with scrupulous phrasing and affectionate cantabile; never insipid. She cleverly succeeds in uncovering the background organic coherence of these four remarkable miniatures in a stylish interpretation. Her portrayal of the more tempestuous moments, most notably the b minor section in the E flat (No. 2) and darker rumblings in the G flat (No. 3), is however a tad reserved.
In the four D935 Impromptus, her exquisitely crafted playing reveals a disguised sonata form in these four pieces. The balances between key and gesture are deftly done in a dramatic account of the f minor first piece. She brings out the deliciously warm glow of A flat major in the second, and shapes the ‘Rosamunde’ variations in the third Impromptu with style. The exultant Fourth Impromptu hails its triumphant resolution back to f minor with her glowingly dramatic performance.
Recorded sound is excellent. Leonskaja’s marvellous and penetrating interpretations of these famous pieces will strongly appeal to conossieurs.