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Schubert: Piano Sonatas, Impromptus (Paul Lewis)

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Biography

Paul Lewis
(Piano)
Biography:

"And the listener must wait, out of respect to this marvelous partnership of Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis, until time can be taken for it alone and uninterrupted, to accompany them on the journey through to its unearthly end."

John Steane, Gramophone Magazine 'Disc of the Month' for Schubert's Winterreise, November ... Read more in Amazon's Paul Lewis Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Schubert: Piano Sonatas, Impromptus (Paul Lewis) + Schubert: Piano Sonatas D.840; 850 & 894 (Paul Lewis) + Schubert: The Late Piano Sonatas D784, 958, 959, 960 (Paul Lewis) [1CD plus 1 bonus disc of previously released recordings)
Price For All Three: £49.81

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Product details

  • Composer: Schubert
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Classique
  • ASIN: B007X98S28
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,658 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Wandererfantasie Op.15 D.760 in C Major: I. Allegro con fuoco ma non troppo 5:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Wandererfantasie Op.15 D.760 in C Major: II. Adagio 6:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Wandererfantasie Op.15 D.760 in C Major: III. Presto 4:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Wandererfantasie Op.15 D.760 in C Major: IV. Allegro 3:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. 4 Impromptus Op.post.142 D.935: I. Allegro moderato (F Minor)10:38Album Only
  6. 4 Impromptus Op.post.142 D.935: II. Allegretto. Trio (A flat Major ) 6:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. 4 Impromptus Op.post.142 D.935: III. Thema Andante. Variations I-V. Più lento (B flat Major)11:14Album Only
  8. 4 Impromptus Op.post.142 D.935: IV. Allegro scherzando (F Minor ) 6:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. 6 Moments musicaux Op. 94 D.780: III. Allegretto moderato 1:54£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Sonata No.16 Op.42 D.845 in A Minor: I. Moderato10:34Album Only
  2. Sonata No.16 Op.42 D.845 in A Minor: II. Andante poco mosso12:41Album Only
  3. Sonata No.16 Op.42 D.845 in A Minor: III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace - Trio. Un poco più lento 7:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Sonata No.16 Op.42 D.845 in A Minor: IV. Rondo. Allegro vivace 5:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. 6 Moments musicaux Op.94 D.780: I. Moderato 5:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. 6 Moments musicaux Op.94 D.780: II. Andantino 5:32£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. 6 Moments musicaux Op.94 D.780: IV. Moderato 5:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. 6 Moments musicaux Op.94 D.780: V. Allegro vivace 2:08£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. 6 Moments musicaux Op.94 D.780: VI. Allegretto. Trio 6:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Allegretto in C Minor D.915 4:53£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

HMF 902136; HARMONIA MUNDI - Francia; Classica da camera Piano

Review

Arguably the finest Schubert interpreter of his generation [. . .] Time and again, you marvel at the confidence and sureness of Lewis's playing, combined with the finesse and musicality that he has always displayed. Gramophone Recording of the Month, February 2012 --Gramophone

Lewis's mature insight into the workings and emotional characteristics of these works lends his interpretations particular power and depth. --Daily Telegraph

The Impromptus are a particular delight, projecting Schubert at his most lyrically flamboyant. --The Scotsman

These are truly great performances from a natural Schubertian that give enormous pleasure and insight. With first rate recorded sound and excellent notes this set looks likely to repeat the success of the Gramophone Award nominated issue. No lover of Schubert should miss this new release. --The Classical Reviewer (blog) 9 October 2012

The Impromptus are a particular delight, projecting Schubert at his most lyrically flamboyant. --The Scotsman

this new pair of discs from Paul Lewis only raises the standard yet higher. His playing of everything here is exemplary; if one were ever tempted to say a recording was definitive then this is the time ... I d be surprised if any Schubert lover didn t find these two discs a revelation. ***** performance **** recording --Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine Christmas Issue 2012

The playing is carefully considered and technically flawless ... this is the work of an artist with a deep understanding of Schubertian style ... the recorded sound is excellent. --John Quinn, MusicWeb International November 2012

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Entartete Musik on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Paul Lewis is clearly a man in touch with his emotions. Wedded to exquisite pianism, Lewis nevertheless refuses to place Schubert on a pedestal. These piano works are living, breathing narratives, in which Lewis presents the full gamut of dynamics and moods in increasingly wild colours. Not for him the Schubert who pondered whether he could ever stand beside Beethoven.

The Wandererfantasie is a real statement of intent here. Proto-Lisztian, it demands great technical and emotional eloquence. Lewis made his name with performances of the Liszt B minor sonata and his rendition of Schubert's quasi-prophetic fantasy from 1822 has the same grit and determination. Delivering the granite strength of this work, Lewis also brings a sense of gravitas to the Adagio, weaving gossamer threads around its plangent melody before the muscle and majesty returns.

Less convincing is the A minor sonata D845 as a work. Schubert all too often ruminates on his melodic material rather than running free, giving a feeling of strange restriction. Lewis does brilliantly to counter such claims, pushing through phrases and building to climaxes as bold as those in the Wandererfantasie, but he cannot quite erase the doubts over this work in my mind (however bold the claims of Roman Hinke's excellent liner notes).

More persuasive are the four late Impromptus and the Moments Musicaux, where Lewis is cheeky, even evasive. But, as before, this discursive, sportive playing leads to dark passages - not least in the variations of the B flat major Impromptu. Picking out though never labouring the counterpoint, Lewis sounds like he's discovering these works for the very first time. But as well as engaging us, such emotional freshness has a real power to slay. Lewis's emotional fluency and effortless but investigative playing make for a rich listening experience.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sixtus Beckmesser on 19 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very different to the Uchida version. I couldn't say which is better, but I wouldn't want to be without either. Strongly recommended
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By francis on 23 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paul Lewis is probably the finest interpreter of these wonderfully poetic works. Sheer delight to listen to them. Strongly recommended
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Susan Black on 13 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would like to give it 10 stars. It is a wonderful performance. Can't recommend it highly enough. If you like Schubert piano music, you must buy this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Another must-listen in Lewis's Schubert series 12 Oct. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
From his first Schubert recordings, of the final piano sonatas, Paul Lewis struck me as an extraordinary interpreter of this composer, and when the PR blubs for this new installment quote the Gramophone calling Lewis the great Schubert pianist of his generation, it's no exaggeration. Everything is in place - a feeling for innocence but also originality, the ability to sing and be tender along with strength and power. Above all, a great Schubert interpreter needs to communicate a sense of mystery in the way these contradictory elements are combined. The music word was late to appreciate Schubert's piano writing on its own terms rather than Beethoven's. Now artists like Lewis keep unfolding new marvels.

This new two-CD set, which follows on the same format as a previous 2011 release, arranges a complete concert program. It's a lovely approach, and I'm grateful that Lewis isn't simply a dutiful completist: as before, he's chosen masterpieces. There are no dull stretches; in fact, the beauty of every piece is totally engrossing. The large-scale work that anchors the program is the Wanderer Fantasy, which begins with two surprises, one nicer than the other. The nicer surprise is that Lewis attacks the bravura opening flourishes with real abandon - this could be the Hammerklavier Sonata in its bold fierceness - and we are unexpectedly thrown into the world of Sviatoslav Richter. (I don't mean to contradict myself by referring to Beethoven, since the Wanderer Fantasy is the closest that Schubert's idiom comes to his towering contemporary.)

Richter's Schubert broke all the rules in its passion and spontaneity. Lewis doesn't go quite that far, but the whole reading is urgent and exciting. It also gives him the opportunity to unleash his technical prowess, which doesn't happen often in Schubert's keyboard writing. But this brings up the not-so-nice surprise. The piano sound at loudest dynamic is metallic and hard. I wasn't able to listen at life-like volume. This complaint doesn't apply to the vast majority of the works here, luckily. CD 1 is filled out with a reading of the four Impromptus D. 935, the earlier four from D. 899 having appeared on last year's release. Lewis is bold in these readings, too, and more serious than exuberant overall. He isn't going to err on the side of refinement - there's no hint of preciousness or any attempt to make these small pieces sound like Chopin in Austrian disguise. His aim, I think, is to show us that this set of Impromptus can be approached almost as a unified sonata, a point first made by Robert Schumann.

CD 2 begins with Sonata no. 16 in A minor, which for a long time was about as early as pianists were willing to reach back - even now the repertoire tends to begin with Sonata no. 15 D. 840. The A minor sonata dates to May, 1825, when Schubert was 28. He would die four years later, but those years saw an enormous leap in the scale and ambition of his piano writing. In the sonatas that lie on the cusp of greatness, I like the performer to lean forward toward the future rather than backward - i other words, there should be force and strength rather than charm (my lack of enthusiasm for Kempff, Lupu, and Schiff rests on this distinction). Lewis seems of like mind - he constructs D. 845 as an important expression, reaching for the depth of the last three sonatas as well as the Three Piano Pieces (which appeared on the 2011 release in magnificent readings). I'd call this Richter with more polish and fewer extremes.

The six Moments musicaux D. 780 belie any claim that Schubert grew in a straight line to become a great master of the keyboard. He could unfurl his genius at any age, and in short piano pieces like these and the Impromptus, he reaches the heights of personal expression. Although published as a set in 1828, the year that Schubert died, and given the misleadingly trivial title of "moments," these works were composed at scattered times between 1823 and 1828. He was under the shadow of death in his last year, but all six works reach deep; they are not remotely like light salon music. Edwin Fischer has a great historical recording of them, paired with the Impromptus, that is quite searching, one of his classic performances. In recent years I haven't noticed many releases of note, however. Lewis more urgent and less romantic than Fischer - more than two generations separate them, after all - but he is just as sensitive and probing, without neglecting the beauty that exists everywhere in these beloved works.

At just over two hours, the timings on the CDs isn't generous, but music-making at this level is so rare and gratifying that I can't begin to complain. This is a must-listen for any lover of Schubert's piano music.

Schubert:

Fantasie in C major, D760 'Wanderer'

4 Impromptus, D935

Piano Sonata No. 16 in A minor, D845

Moments Musicaux (6), D780, Op. 94

Allegretto in C minor, D915
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Splendid Schubert 8 Feb. 2013
By Bruce A. Mcdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paul Lewis is emerging as not only a fine Beethovenian, but also as an outstanding Schubertian. This generous 2-disc set is well worth listening and purchasing. Lewis does the rarely heard Klavierstucke (excellent pieces) as well as the more familiar Moments Musicaux and the 2nd set of Impromptus. However, I was particularly interested in Disc #1, containing the composer's splendid Wanderer Fantasy and the Sonata in A Minor, D. 845. The Fantasy is very fine, although I have heard some performances I liked even better, but the A Minor Sonata is one of my favorites, with some of the composer's modula-tions really taking my breath away, and it receives a splendid performance here. Great stuff! Enjoy.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Paul Lewis offers Consummate Performances of Schubert 24 Oct. 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Paul Lewis is a secure artist. His intelligence shines in the manner in which he programs recitals and performances with orchestras, his concentration on the scope of shaping a complete performance of a work is thoughtful and in control, his technical abilities at the keyboard are on a par with the finest pianists of the time, and he is unafraid to place before the listener a program of works both well known and rare with complete conviction. All of those attributes he has amply demonstrated before - both in recital and in his previous recordings. Now he enters the rarefied realm of pianistic wonders of Franz Schubert and the result is an experience that reflects all of the above, but also adds some of the most eloquent evidence of his finding the poetry that too often is passed over by others.

For sheer brilliance of his technical facility it would be difficult to find richer interpretations of both the opening Fantasie in C Major `The Wanderer' and the Piano Sonata No. 16 in A minor. These are massive pieces, complex, full of challenging passages, yet overflowing with moments of lyrical beauty that recall some of Schubert's inimitable lieder. Lewis produces solid, lush richness in these works: his hands seems so large that they encompass the entire keyboard without moving. There is that almost impossible marriage of tenderness and virile power that marks Schubert's piano works as some of the finest in the literature....and Lewis finds that and shares it.

When Paul Lewis approaches the 4 Impromptus the result is a clarity of line coupled with a sensitive singing Romanticism without ever bordering on the sanguine that is not uncommon in these favorite pieces. The same can be said for his delicacy and rapture that he finds in the Moments Musicaux. Though there is a tendency to lapse in to a sense of rapture while listening to this 2 CD set or when considering writing thoughts about the experience, the people who are fortunate enough to add this Schubert collection to their library will likely feel that response. Paul Lewis is a phenomenon - a gentle giant from whom we can expect more in the future in both recital and on recordings. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, October 12
Very Good 18 Jun. 2014
By PianoReview - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
No one plays all these Schubert works the best - different pianists are stronger in certain works versus others. But Lewis's approach is very refreshing. In today's sound and his lively style, well worth having.
Five Stars 10 May 2015
By Rebekah D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The most compelling, most committed performance of the Wandererfantasie I've ever heard.
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