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Schubert: Piano Sonatas No 14, D 784 & No 17, D 850

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Schubert: Piano Sonatas No 14, D 784 & No 17, D 850
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  • Schubert: Piano Sonata No 21, D 960; Wanderer Fantasie, D760
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  • Schubert: Piano Sonata No 16, D 845; 3 Pieces, D 946
Total price: £42.49
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Product details

  • Performer: Alfred Brendel
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (5 Oct. 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B00000E3TA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,548 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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I’m not a fan of Alfred Brendel but whenever his 1987 Schubert cycle comes into gun-range, I concede excellence. What befell him at the time? For once, was he touched by the hand of God? Or having broken the bank at the House of the Rising Sun, did he stride into the recording studio like a mullet-draped Adonis to continue his swordplay in another medium? What a pity that such virility and poetic insight are rarely evident elsewhere in his discography where ratiocination prevails above all.

This is another triumph from the aforementioned endeavour. Kempff, to my mind, is the Word in D 850 where his celestial weightlessness in the slow movement and coda of the finale are sub specie aeternitatis. A comparison is by no means to the disadvantage of Uncle Alfred. He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Bruckner comes into frame in the trio of the Scherzo: again, Brendel conveys majesty and dominion and unerringly so.

D 784, composed when Schubert first glimpsed the Grim Reaper in the guise of red spots on his undercarriage, is one of the blackest, most nihilistic works in existence. Listen to the development in the first movement: unblinkingly and unflinchingly, Brendel summons the Gods of the Underworld. The longing and anguish of the latter two movements are given full rein. Consult your compass: all things come to an end.

Richly recorded, look no further.
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can't get any better
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Great Music
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morfe Perfect Schbert from the best, Brendsel 29 Jan. 2014
By NUC MED TECH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
01-29-14 Mention Schubert and Brendel in the same sentance, and you're assured of at least two things. One, is Philips Records and the entire sonata repertoire and the secnond, and far more imoirtant thing is quality. There is, for me, no better Schubertian on Earth than Alfred Brendel, and I can go on collecting him almost forever. His Schubert, like his Mozart, haydn and certainly Beethoven is beyond reproach, in evey way. This Philps CD contains tewo of the composer'sx sonati, the a-minor D.784 and the fabulous d Major, D.850. Written in ________________ when the composer was ______years old, they arfe bonafide staples in recital repertoire and are prfesented here, in sessions which took place in the Oberpfaltz Germany Septermber of 1987. Recorded digitally, they run a full and satisfying 39:15 for D.784 and 23:43 for the D. 850.yeilding over 60 minutes of wonderful playing.
both of these sonati feel in the gap between the 8th and 9th Symphonies, thus making for mature and highly refined solopiano works. the compser, to say the least , was near or at the height of his powers in this dynmic and dramaTIC PAIR. THE FIRST ON THE DISK, NOT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, IS THE SONATA IN D, D. 850.
The D.850 opens with a decidedly strong hint of the Wanderer Fantasy, from 3 years earlier, 1822. Ene\rgy and motion are employed with fine resultsBrendel's use of the right foot pedal is like few others I have heard, and he just knows how much is ok,and how much is too much. But, it ios those fingertips of Mr. Brendel that create the mjic of his playing, most notable in Beethoven, yes, but nearly as sublime in his Schubert, as well. I own about 3-4 Schbert sonati CDs with this great pianist and, despite the fact that I don't presently know when they were recorded, they all sound as if the total session was in one or two days, instead of years apart. The playing is that cohesive and brilliant. Why, I would rfecommend this disk even if Io hadn't heard it first. All that is needed is Bnrendel and Philipos engineers. The 2nd movement is markeed simply, "copn moto." It is the slow movement and runsa a very pleasing 11:53, the 2nd longestr track on this album. This "aNDANTGE" TEMPO HAS A SPONTINAITY TO IT I FOUND AMAZING AND REFRESHING, AS IF THESE WERE HIS FIRST THOUGHTS AND AFTER DASHING THEM OFF, THE SONATA GOT NO MORE PROOF REASDINGS, BUT WAS MAILED TO THE PUBLISHER AS IS. SORT OF LIKE BRAHMS. I thought this movement az bit too ling, aznd my concentration was surely challenged by the length. It could easily be religated to the passive heap, but for the egnius of the piece. He wsrote these notes, after , for a readon, and when he had nothing left tgo say, he moved on to the rest of the Sonata #17. I don't know how well it was recieved, but, being Schubert, he probably wasn't too concerned by any display of impatience, noting this long 2nd movement. the symphonic richness of Mr. Brendel's Steinway is richly rewarding and with a little more volume, sounds like a piano in my living room, to a certain degree. The simple ending of "con moto," clears the way for a scherzo of 9 minutes on the nose, and here, Brendel hops and skips through this virtuoso material. It is marked "allegro Vivace," but is taken more allegro and, rather than slur anything, Brendel gives every germ of thought it's full attention. Schubert's trio section extends from about 03:41 to near 06:18, and is a little difficult to identify as such, but this is my best hunch. The movement's inexhaustible energy never wavers or diminishes, but rather provides a solid direction throughout.
The Rondo is in "Allegro moderato" tempo, and opens with a childlike tunes, wonderfully enchanting and tuneful..I liked it instantly, and had to encore it's fun music. With his health failing, from the Syphlis that would take his life, he still managed to write upbeat and happy music. and this finale is a perfect example of just that.Again, Brendel's tinking on the kesy is so delightful, he makes Schubert come alive, for me.

The Sonata in a-minor D.784 is next and this one begins with quite dark chords, before turning to an "allegro giusto" main idea. Literally, this movement is supposed to be taken as "strictly fast," a marking I see in few other compostitons.Strangely, this is funereal music, not unlike the "funeral march" of Chopin's 3rd Sonata. Why? I don't know. In the 5th minute, the music appears to be attempting to accelerate but it is pulled back into the shadows. It is, perhaps, a bit autobiographical, but then, at 07:15 the drama intensifies with strong forte chords and the piano resonates powerfully, as this "symphonic thinking" reappears as it did in D.850 . The original tempo never really alters from the "allegro giusto" designation at the start, and it finally makes sense to me, as it nears it's end. After nearly 13 and a half minutes, we step into the andante. it reaches for eloquence but only manages a trifle, and the movement comes to a subdued and soft end. The whirling swirling Allegro vivace brings this D. 784 to an end.
Overall, I liked these works, played certainly in expert fashion by THE best, Alfred Brendel. The 1st movement, of the D.784 Sonata, and it's allusion to Der Wanderer I enjoyed much and the the curioous 13 and one half long opening to D.850 i thought puzzling. perhaps I'm thinking too analytically, and I should listen more easily next time. Still, a very satisfying 4>5 star reading and engineering job by all the team. I heartily recommend this CD as I do all of Mr. Brendel's efforts. Own the best! buy this album. Warmest regards and god Bless all, Tony.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for the performances, 3 stars for the sound 7 Jun. 2010
By jsa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Alfred Brendel has been criticized as too intellectual, too analytical, not passionate enough etc, but you can ignore all of these objections when it comes to his Schubert recordings. I have read that Brendel focuses on the architecture of Schubert's sonatas and this is an observation that I would agree with. He makes sense of music that seems to go here and there, connecting the dots in a most satisfying way. There's structure, forward momentum, plenty of muscle and poetry. In short, these are balanced, inspired performances.

I don't want to focus too much attention on the sound picture here, but the sonics in Brendel's Schubert series really leaves something to be desired. The pianist's "Digital Classics" discs, which were recorded in the late 1980's, are all hard and dry sounding. In all fairness to Philips, it may be the instrument Brendel plays which I suspect is a Bosendorfer. Even Brendel's "Artist's Choice" discs that I've heard (live recordings from the late 1990's) suffer from the same hard tone. The sound, however, is not a reason to shy away from acquiring this fine Schubert disc.

Even though this disc is nla from the manufacturer, you can pick one up from one of amazon's resellers.
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