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Schubert: Impromptus, D935; Piano Pieces, D946; Hüttenbrenner Variations, D576 / Steven Osborne, piano

Album Summary

>Schubert, Franz : Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 935/Op. 142
>Schubert, Franz : Pieces (3) for Piano, D 946
>Schubert, Franz : Variations (13) on a Theme by Anselm Hüttenbrunner, for piano in A minor, D. 576
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

British pianist Steven Osborne shines in lyrical new performances of seven of Schubert's greatest late works for piano, Four Impromptus D935 and Three piano pieces D946. Rounding out this program are the extended Hüttenbrenner Variations of 1817 named for Schubert's close friend and fellow pupil of Salieri, Anselm Hüttenbrenner.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2015
Steven Osborne is perhaps the outstanding British pianist of his generation, certainly one of the most versatile and adventurous... where Osborne excels is in his grasp of structure - if anyone remains who thinks that Schubert just rambles delightfully on, these accounts should lead to a rapid change of mind; and in coping effortlessly with Schubert's unhelpfully awkward leaps.

Gramophone Magazine, October 2015
Osborne immediately presents himself as a Schubertian of the utmost seriousness and integrity, and throughout the disc [he] offers finely gauged and beautifully regulated playing. His is a patient, ostensibly non-interventionist approach, in which the poetry of Schubert's music is allowed to speak for itself.

The Guardian, 18th October 2015
Osborne takes a wonderfully clear-sighted, analytical approach which gives the seven late works, as well as the early, often playful variations, great radiance and lyricism.

New York Times, 25th November 2015
His Schubert is clean and unfussy, much like that of Paul Lewis, but with a slightly softer grain. Those qualities pay dividends in a thoughtful, alluring account of the D. 935 Impromptus.

American Record Guide, March/April 2016
I have heard this pianist in concert (in Edinburgh) and on recordings. He seems very British - that is, businesslike and cold. The Impromptus here are the set that was called "Opus 120", not the far better "Opus 90" set (D 899).

The Three Pieces, D 946, are great favorites of mine; the second (Allegretto) is one of the most beautiful piano pieces in existence. Much to my surprise, Mr Osborne handles it very well. It's sensitive, flexible, and moving. I still prefer these three pieces played by Javier Perianes above all (Harmonia Mundi 987080, May/June 2008) and also by Jeno Jando (Naxos 550259, Jan/Feb 1994) and Imogen Cooper. Perianes is the most perfumed and sensitive and delicate. Jando has gorgeous tone and seems simple and uncomplicated. Cooper is fast but still very expressive.

There is also a wonderful recording by Christophe Vautier - the most romantic of them all (more ardor than any other - Calliope 1418, Nov/Dec 2014). Next to that - and the others - Osborne is pretty straightforward.

Anselm Hutterbrenner was a friend of Schubert, and the theme of these variations is from a quartet by him. Schubert wrote this the same year the quartet was published: 1817. This is not a well-known piece by Schubert, and it was nice to hear.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (12/07/2014-12/09/2014).



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Works Details

>Schubert, Franz : Impromptus (4) for Piano, D 935/Op. 142
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (12/07/2014-12/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 36 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 12/1827

>Schubert, Franz : Pieces (3) for Piano, D 946
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (12/07/2014-12/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 05/1828

>Schubert, Franz : Variations (13) on a Theme by Anselm Hüttenbrunner, for piano in A minor, D. 576
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (12/07/2014-12/09/2014)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 08/1817