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Schubert: Piano Sonata in A, D959 / Lieder

Ian Bostridge Audio CD

Price: £5.90
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Ian Bostridge "Oh Southern Breeze"


Ian Bostridge was a post-doctoral fellow in history at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before embarking on a full-time career as a singer. His international recital career includes the world’s major concert halls and the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Aldeburgh and Schubertiade Festivals. In 1999 he premiered a song-cycle written for him by Hans Werner Henze. In 2003/04 he held ... Read more in Amazon's Ian Bostridge Store

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Schubert: Piano Sonata in A, D959 / Lieder + Schubert: Lieder / Piano Sonatas
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D.959: I. AllegroLeif Ove Andsnes14:55Album Only
Listen  2. Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D.959: II. AndantinoLeif Ove Andsnes 7:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D.959: III. Scherzo (Allegro vivace) & Trio (Un poco più lento)Leif Ove Andsnes 4:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Piano Sonata No. 20 in A Major, D.959: IV. Rondo (Allegretto - Presto)Leif Ove Andsnes11:04Album Only
Listen  5. Pilgerweise, D.789Leif Ove Andsnes/Ian Bostridge 5:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Der UnglücklicheLeif Ove Andsnes/Ian Bostridge 6:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Auf dem Strom, D.943Ian Bostridge/Timothy Brown/Leif Ove Andsnes 8:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Die Sterne, D.939Leif Ove Andsnes/Ian Bostridge 2:52£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description


Instrumental and vocal music are normally kept tightly in their pigeon holes but with Schubert it makes abundant sense to mix the two, as there are such close links between them. The idea here came from performances at Leif Ove Andsnes’ chamber music festival in Risor, Norway, though the disc itself is a studio recording. The result is like a flower unfolding: the sonata leading to four songs, the third of which ("Auf dem Strom") has the added tonal element of a horn part (beautifully played by Timothy Brown). The D959 sonata is one of Schubert’s most dramatic, with some wild and unexpected passages. Andsnes does not hold back here, yet it is the intimacy of his reading which really makes you sit up and listen. There is a sense of scale which is truly Schubertian--we are not in a large concert hall but sitting with the composer and a few friends. The same intimacy is followed through in the choice and performance of the songs, Ian Bostridge in fine voice and accompanied with such sensitivity by Andsnes. The pianist says it is the first part of a longer project. With performances like this, the more the merrier.--Keith Clarke

Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light and shadow 22 Oct 2002
By Jeff Abell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Leif Ove Andsnes is an astonishing pianist, who can play Haydn brilliantly, bring out the sarcastic wit of Shostakovich, or bask in the dreamy sentiments of Brahms. As he states in his liner notes, it is perhaps inevitable that he has come to Schubert at this point in his career. Schubert benefits from all the things Andsnes excels in: dazzling technique, a fresh point of view, and dramatic intensity. The Sonata in A, one of three big sonatas written the year he died, is filled with the mixture of light and shadow that distinguish Schubert's best works. (Consider the slow movement, where a plaintive little melody in F# minor is interrupted by this noisy, discontinuous outburst that some have characterized as a "nervous breakdown." Yet the scherzo movement that follows is one of Schubert's perkiest tunes. Go figure.) I already own Mitsuko Uchida's version of this sonata, a gorgeous account, but I find Andsnes reveals details and structural elements I didn't hear in Uchida's more inward version. Filling out the disc are some lesser known but beautiful lieder, sung incomparably by Ian Bostridge. Poet John Berryman called Schubert "grievous and sublime." This disc makes an excellent case for that description.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Andsnes takes a superficial view of Schubert 8 Jan 2007
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Compared to virtuosic piano writing, most of Schubert's is technically unchallenging (a commenter below begs to differ), but beneath its surface simplicity, we now recognize a mysterious emotional world that eluded earlier generations. Post-Schnabel, the first interpreter to bring out the deeper Schubert in the late sonatas, many pianists have twisted and turned Schubert's lyrical line to their way of thinking. Andsnes begins the great A Major Sonta D. 959 quite abruptly, with clipped accents that are almost ugly. He remains aburpt and brisk throughout this long movement, and I for one thoroughly disliked it. Brendel offers much the same dry approach, and I guess Andsnes' purpose is the same, to give us a 'classical' Schubert close to Haydn and free of sentimentality.

The Andantino is a melancholy song without words, and Andsnes does well not to drag the tempo to accentuate the melody's sadness. But I don't find his touch or phrasing anything special. Again, he remains on the surface, eschewing Schubert's romantic inwardness for the most part. There's no doubt, however, about his sensitivity and sincertiy, as Andsnes' admirers would be quick to point out. The Scherzo is well executed if a bit flat-footed compared to the brialliant display of Pollini, my favorite piansit in this work. To be sure, Andsnes jsutifies his approach with alert changes of moood from bar to bar, something this mercurial movement demands. He breezes into the Rondo finale with a straight-ahead tempo that deprives the theme of expression, which is a shame. As good as Andsnes is at balancing melody and accompaniment in the contrapuntal dance, he prettifies the music, returning Schubert to the miniaturist he most definitely isn't.

I've given my response to each movement in order to make clear that I am not anti-Andsnes. His Schubert grates on my nerves at times, because I know how much depth the same sonata has in the hands of Pollini and Schnabel, among others. If I want to hear good but not great Schubert, I can always turn to Goode, Lupu, and Perahia. I sometimes avoid Uchida for her fussy mannerisms, but her D. 959 is a strong performance. As for the add-on Schubert songs, a feature of this series, Ian Bostridge has a voice I cannot abide, so I am not qualified to comment on an artist whose fame will always baffle me.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars it's different, but it's not better. 14 Dec 2004
By fungfucius - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
customers of amazon.com like positive reviews. this isn't a positive review.

on this cd, schubert's 20th piano sonata sounds like a lyrical schubert song: beguiling, floating, and dreamy. indeed, this is the stated purpose of andsnes. he says, unlike beethoven, schubert lingers and wanders, and his music doesn't go to a particular place like beethoven's.

i love schubert's songs. and i also love his piano sonatas. but they are not one and the same; songs and sonatas are created for different purposes. and to treat them the same way is to rob the spirit off of either. quite a diservice!

contrast andsnes' A major with, say, kovasavich's, brendel's and even kempff's. the latter---even kempff's---are dynamic, agitating, and shouting at you out loud. and andsnes'? well, his is like a song.

the schubert sonata on this cd is different. but sometimes, being different doesn't necessarily mean it's better. or even good.

i generally admire andsnes' craftsmanship; indeed, i have greatly enjoyed his haydn, grieg, and schumann. but sorry to say, this schubert cd is truly a disappointment.
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