Franz Schubert: András Schiff | Album Review

Franz Schubert
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Artist: András Schiff, Franz Schubert
Genre: Classical
Label: ECM New Series

Since the 1980s, András Schiff moved from scepticism to active espousal regarding the use of 18th- and 19th-century pianos.

He now seems to be having a musical love affair with his 1820s Viennese piano, made by Franz Brodmann.

Here Schiff brings its softly rounded and flexible tone to bear on Schubert, in two late sonatas (D894 in G and D960 in B flat), the Moments musicaux, and the Impromptus, D935.

His respect for the inherent limitations of his instrument’s dynamic range guides the music inwards.

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Intimacy and restraint are the keywords in performances which never seek to overpower either the listener or the instrument.

The results may be too small-scale for some tastes. but it’s Schiff’s achievement to sound fully at one with his unusual instrument’s natural voice.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor