Review Roundup: Andras Schiff in All Schubert Program
Sir András Schiff played an all-Schubert program including his Piano Sonata in A Minor, D. 845; Four Impromptus, D. 935; Klavierstücke, D. 946; and Piano Sonata in G Major, D. 894.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
JAMES R. OESTREICH, NY Times: It seemed on Thursday that Mr. Schiff had almost come to inhabit Schubert the way he long ago inhabited Bach. He played with a proprietary, improvisatory air, as though he were making up the music on the spot, and to some extent he was: He subtly altered the many repeated phrases, in timing, touch or mood... Over and above Schubert's own variation movements, it seemed, the music was in constant variation, alive with new meanings. And as for those variations by Schubert himself, Mr. Schiff, in a passage with insistently repeated notes and exquisite dissonances in the second movement of the A minor Sonata, found an uncanny foreshadowing of Chopin's "Raindrop" Prelude. (Chopin must have known Schubert's A minor, one of his few sonatas published during his lifetime.)
Simon Chin, The Washington Post: On Tuesday evening at Strathmore, Schiff graced the faithful with an all-Schubert program, presented by Washington Performing Arts. Seated at his preferred Bösendorfer concert grand, Schiff seemed not so much directly channeling the spirit of Schubert as delivering a sermon based on sacred texts... In his readings, Schiff ensured that no musical thought went without comment and that no expressive point was missed by the audience. The pianist's impressive technique - his rounded tone, limpid clarity and astonishing control over color and articulation - was all in service to a kind of musical pedantry. Even in moments of great beauty - and there were many breathtaking passages - one seldom forgot that one was beholding an exquisitely wrought artifact, like a medieval altarpiece.