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In 2005, the Uzbestikan pianist Eldar Nebolsin (b. 1974) won the Richter Prize in the International Piano Competition, Moscow. Nebolsin is a young virtuoso pianist with an extraordinary technique which has already been compared to Richter's. Nebolsin has recorded a number of acclaimed CDs for Naxos, including Chopin's piano concertos.
I needed to hear this CD of Schubert piano music because it includes Nebolsin's reading of the sonata in A major, D. 664, op. 120, a work I have been studying and playing. Schubert wrote this sonata in 1819, as a young man of 22, but it was published only after his death. This sonata is not a virtuoso piece. Rather it is quiet, lyrical, with an ambiguity between lightness and introspection that characterizes much of Schubert's music. My efforts with this music made me appreciate Nebolsin's reading. He brings out the long, lyrical character of the main theme in the opening movement. I learned from listening to how he subdues the accompaniment figure in the left hand to the melody and how he avoids overpedalling. For a pianist of Nebolsin's gifts, these are small matters, perhaps, but they helped inspire me in my continued work with the piece. Nebolsin plays plays the second movement in a quiet, subdued manner which turns radiant for a moment as Schubert moves from minor to major key before turning back again. The light, rapid finale is full of turns and variety. Nebolsin emphasizes the skipping little waltz which appears as a secondary theme -- giving this movement a quality that Beethoven, say, would never have attempted in a serious sonata. Nebolsin also gives full character to the many arpeggios and big chords that punctuate this joyful finale. This is a wonderful recording of what remains Schubert's most frequently played and accessible piano sonata. Read more ›
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