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On his album entitled Cantabile, Daniel Hill performed Schubert D664; here we are offered D959, one of the composer’s late, great trio of sonatas. The competition is huge, from Imogen Cooper to Richter to Uchida to Lupu and beyond, all of whom find the spirituality and timelessness in D959. Hill’s performance is more of this planet, sensitive yet never transcendent. The second movement, innocently marked Andantino, contains a nightmarish, phantasmagoric section that Hill delineates well without capturing the frenzy; the Scherzo feels slightly under-tempo and on the heavy side, while the finale sadly lacks both the magic and long-range vision required.

The Musorgsky Pictures presents a variable exhibition, from a superb ‘Gnomus’ (nicely shaded, with hints at the grotesque) to an overpoweringly relentless, clumsy ‘Bydlo’ and over-careful renditions of ‘Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks’ and ‘Limoges’. There is little sense of glory in the arrival of ‘The Great Gate’. Willowhayne’s sound is adequate and the fine booklet notes by Hugh Petter are worth perusing.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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