Schubert Impromptus

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Schubert Impromptus

  • Impromptus, No. 1 in C minor
  • Impromptus, No. 2 in E flat
  • Impromptus, No. 3 in G flat
  • Impromptus, No. 4 in A flat
  • Impromptus, No. 1 in F minor
  • Impromptus, No. 2 in A flat
  • Impromptus, No. 3 in B flat
  • Impromptus, No. 4 in F minor

Trying to describe the difference in sound between Perahia's recent CBS and Brendel's older (1972-5) Philips versions of these pieces I resorted to the imagery of foliage in spring (Perahia) and high summer (Brendel). Lupu is somewhere between the two—shall we say round about the feast of St John. He likes a warmer, deeper sonority than Perahia, but not so full-bodied or ripely pedalled as what we hear from Brendel. I'm now compelled to admit to a preference for the clearer CBS and Decca digital sound. The Philips acoustic increasingly strikes me as too plummy (though fortissimo, like those big octaves early in D935 No. 1, still emerges a bit steely) as if the recording had been made with close microphones in an over-resonant studio.
In approach to the music I think Lupu also stands mid-way between the vernal Perahia and the high-voltaged Brendel, sometimes delighting in the music's dancing lightness and grace more than Brendel, but at other times needing a shade more time than Perahia for searching between the lines. In D899, No. 1 in C minor, I thought him too slow and grave, even world-weary. In D935, No. 1 in F minor, on the other hand, his response to changing moods could scarcely be more immediate and flexible. I particularly enjoyed the story hidden in its duetting as from bar 69. To all eight pieces he brings insights all his own betokening acute awareness of the visionary in Schubert, while as piano playing pure and simple it could scarcely be lovelier in phrasing or tone. When first confronting this return to already over-recorded pieces my immediate reaction, I confess, was ''Why yet another?'' I now realize the catalogue would not have been complete without the viewpoint of so dedicated a Schubertian.R1 '8402075'

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