Saturday, March 12, 2005

Schubert's last piano sonata

Heard acclaimed young British pianist Paul Lewis playing Beethoven and Schubert at the John Innes Centre in Norwich last Sunday in one of splendid concerts organised by Norwich and Norfolk Chamber Music.

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Wonderful technically dazzling playing, but a strangely empty performance of the Schubert Sonata No 21. (My favourite performance is Wilhelm Kempff's which is available in a 7CD bargain box from DGG which is full of riches. This set is available from Caiman USA via amazon.co.uk through the New and Used link for the bargain price of £21.56 plus £1.24 postage, see my posting Brilliant CD Bargains).

I am also attached to Paul Lewis' teacher Alfred Brendel's interpretations , his 'live remake' comes as part of a two for the price of one Philips set. It is worth visiting his official web site via this link, as you would expect it one of the more imaginative artist web sites).

Why do so many young musicians feel they have to tackle the peaks of the repertoire relatively early in their careers? There is so much other great music to explore; why aren't works such as this and the late Beethoven Quartets left to mature more before public performance?

I guess that they tackle these peaks because like Everest they are there. But aren't the base camps and approaches to Everest getting a little cluttered and degraded?

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