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Schubert: Piano Sonatas nos. 16 in A minor; Sonata in B flat / Maria Joao Pires, piano

Album Summary

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in A minor, D 845/Op. 42
>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Iconic Deutsce Grammophon pianist and celebrated Schubert interpreter Maria Joao Pires returns to further explore the music of the quintessential romantic composer; deepening a musical relationship that has captivated critics and public alike throughout her career. The Portuguese pianist has not recorded either of these sonatas for DG before and this recording of the brooding and expansive Sonata no. 16 in A minor is her first for any label.

Pires's recording of Schubert's Impromtus is a best-seller with sales exceeding 100,000 album units.

Both her DG debut recital and the acclaimed 1997 album, Voyage Magnifique, revealed Maria Joao Pires's unique empathy with the clarity of gesture and melodic line in the solo music Schubert and this new album, combining the rarely heard Sonata No. 16 with one of the composer's best-loved late works, adds to her acclaimed discography of the composer.

The prospect of this most elusive and magical of pianist by the Daily Telegraph turning her austere, intense keyboard sorcery by the Bloomberg to the contrasting emotions of the ethereal B flat Sonata and the tempestuous Sonata in A minor, is surely one all fans of truly great pianism will relish.

Financial Times, 9th February 2013
Her performances are characteristically thoughtful - too much so for my liking. Pires's approach is more high Romantic than late Classical, constantly oscillating between loud and soft, fast and slow, with the sort of artful phrasing that, instead of suggesting the music's architectural scale and emotional anguish, ends up limiting them. She is at her most persuasive in the central movements of D845 and the Scherzo of D960.

The Guardian, 21st February 2013
Pires has recorded Schubert's B flat major Sonata D960 before, as part of a series of Schubert discs for Erato in the mid-1990s, and in terms of timings the two performances are often strikingly similar...What remains unchanged is the patience with which Pires allows Schubert's music to unfold so naturally that nothing seems forced or contrived.

Sunday Times, 14th April 2013
Here is a Schubertian still at the peak of her pianistic powers with the maturity of an interpreter who has lived with this music for a lifetime (she will be 70 next year). Even though countless great pianists have set down their thoughts on this sublime music, she makes you listen to Schubert's genius with fresh ears...An enthralling disc.

Gramophone Magazine, May 2013
The Portugese pianist produces such a consistently beautiful, mellow sound that one is liable to be seduced by that single element of her playing...Pires, you feel, lives in the sunshine and must surely play D960 to her grandchildren...Even for one with a lifelong affection for Schnabel, this is a B flat major to live with and savour.

MusicWeb International, 21st May 2013
Pires makes her anti-interpretation standpoint clear and manages to create performances which are uniquely communicative and fresh, keeping the ageing ears of this listener agape and agog from beginning to end...If you want to enhance your life with as 'perfect' a Schubert piano disc as can be recommended, then let this be your Elysian Field.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Hamburg-Harburg, Friedrich-Ebert-Halle (07/2011).


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Works Details

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in A minor, D 845/Op. 42
  • Performer: Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
  • Running Time: 39 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 05/1825

>Schubert, Franz : Sonata for Piano in B flat major, D 960
  • Performer: Maria-Joao Pires (Piano)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 09/1828