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Schubert: Piano Sonatas [CD]

Murray Perahia Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £19.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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In the more than 30 years he has been performing on the concert stage, American pianist Murray Perahia has become one of the most sought-after and cherished pianists of our time, performing in all of the major international music centers and with every leading orchestra. He is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with whom he has toured as conductor and ... Read more in Amazon's Murray Perahia Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Schubert: Piano Sonatas + Songs Without Words + Brahms: Handel Variations, Op 24 / Rhapsodies, Op 79 / Piano Pieces, Op 118 & 119
Price For All Three: £38.03

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Product details

  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (19 May 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music Classical
  • ASIN: B00008ZZAA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,665 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano sonata in C minor, D.958
2. Piano sonata in A major, D.959
3. Piano sonata in B flat major, D.960

Product Description


Perahia's Schubert: Piano Sonatas is up against some heavy competition from the likes of Arrau, Brendel, Pollini, as well as old-timers such as Schnabel and Edwin Fischer. Even in such company he acquits himself well, playing with lean sonority that clearly etches Schubert's melodic lines and clarifies the structure of these sprawling works. In the B-flat Sonata he clearly differentiates the basic tempos of the first two movements, which can often blend into each other by pianists who just play them as two slow movements. In the great Andantino movement of the A major, he's alive to its inherent weirdness as Schubert sends a nostalgically beautiful melody off the deep end to fragmentation, then reassembles it into a broken shadow of itself. His approach here is effective, if relatively restrained as he keeps to a generally classical view of works some turn into Romantic extravaganzas. Perahia's is a worthy addition to the Schubert discography and an excellent way to get fine performances of all three of these great works in one well-recorded, neatly space-saving package. --Dan Davis

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This is the second time that Perahia has recorded the middle of these three late sonatas, the well-loved Sonata in A, D. 959. I bought the 2 CD set primarily to hear what he might have to say some 13 years after the original recording. And I was concerned about his technical assurance after several years of physical problems with his hands. I needn't have worried on that account. If anything this reading is more olympian, more assured, more elegant. Earlier reviewers here have asked for more fire. Not I. I want these sonatas to sound like they were handed down from God--as they may have been, who knows?--and in that Perahia succeeds. Just listen to the final movement, the Rondo, of the A major sonata--the one made familiar to millions in an orchestrated version that was the themesong of the popular US sitcom, 'Wings.' I have never heard such songful playing from anyone--this includes Brendel, Goode, Uchida--which is certainly apt for Schubert, our most inspired writer of song melodies. When I got to that fourth movement I hit the repeat button and played it four times in a row, I was so enthralled. Coupled with that is the elfin leggiero of the movement preceding it--almost Mendelssohnian. This is spectacular playing AND spectacular thinking about this great music.
The less-familiar C minor sonata, D. 958--and it is less familiar because it is just a hairbreadth less heavenly than its successors--has a convincing case made for it by Perahia. He does this by emphasizing the ceremonial aspects of the piece--'This is Important Stuff'--by de-emphasizing the corny Alberti-bass recurrences of the accompaniment, using a consistently full but rounded tone, and drawing our attention to the rock-solid formal construction. Hewn from granite, this music.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Schubert but not awe-inspiring 17 Nov 2008
By Scriabinmahler TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
On first hearing, I was very impressed by Perahia's left hand played relatively louder than usual - especially in Cm & AM Sonatas, the pianist reveals the symphonic texture of the music with strong left hand part. B flat Sonata is also played in the same manner with fluid sort of spontaneity and intricacy.

But, no matter how many times I listen to these recordings, I can not get the extra quality to justify the word, 'awe-inspiring.' Perahia's account of Schubert's late sonatas, despite his thoughtful and mature pianism, lacks the fragile inner beauty or the transcendental quality that pianists like Fleisher, Rubinstein and Richter were able to capture (Leon Fleischer - Two Hands/Artur Rubinstein Collection, Vol 54/Richter plays Schubert).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The last emotional outpouring of a Genius 29 Dec 2013
Format:Audio CD
Written in the last few months of his life, if there was ever any doubt that Schubert was aware of his impending departure from this world, then listening to these compositions should convince anyone that he was.
The three sonatas are a musical record of the wide range of emotions that Schubert must have gone through during those last days: fear, denial, sadness, anger, positive reflection, regret and finally acceptance. Some of Schubert's darkest writing can be found here, particularly in the superb but macabre (and even "cynical"?) tarantella of the C Minor, to me portraying the human puppet made to dance for the twisted pleasure of some higher power. There is also some of his most deep and beautiful writing, especially in the instantly loveable A Major's Andante, full of desperate cries of a simple but profound (and unanswered) question most likely on Schubert's mind at the time: "Why?"

Undoubtedly written as a cycle, the three sonatas (especially when listened to in one sitting) are not exactly easy listening, tough they are full of memorable and easily recognisable themes and melodies. But the real joy of these sonatas comes from repeated listening and discovery of some of the more hidden treasures buried within. When you are ready to sit down and enjoy them together, as Schubert probably intended them to be heard, the effect is indescribable for me. Schubert certainly poured his heart and soul into these works.

So what of the interpretation and recording?
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but there's better 6 Feb 2009
Format:Audio CD
To start with kudos: this is the best single set of the famous three last Schubert sonatas. Perahia, a pianist whose early recordings (like the complete Mozart concertos done in the 70. Mozart - The Piano Concertos) I adore, had some hard time lately due to a hand injury and though the overall playing is fabulous, there is a hint of uncertainty, some lack of flow where flow is essential and some deficiency of contrast when Schubert makes one of his famous abrupt mood swings. Check Mieczyslaw Horszowski for D 958 Horszowski - A Centenary Celebration, a 1971 mono recording that, though technically imperfect, is much richer in wit, flow, dynamics and emotion. For D 959 there is still no match for Artur Schnabel's classic 1937 take Artur Schnabel - The Complete Schubert Recordings, 1932-50. For the most famous D 960 there is no better than Sviatoslav Richter 1972 Prague live recording Schubert/Liszt - Piano Works, a haunting, mystical rendering of the two first movements of the sonata, but Artur Rubinstein Artur Rubinstein Collection, Vol 54 is perfect too - in a different way. If you look for the epitome of balance, try the great Rubinstein. If you are in need of a laugh, try the 'Horowitz The Poet' CD - a monumental example of superficiality and cheap tricks like the everpresent ritardando. Back to Perahia: if you are affected by the credit crunch, go for it. But if you are a rich man, start browsing for your own compilation.
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