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This is a follow-up to Schiff’s 2015 ECM twofer (481 1572) of the D935 Impromptus, Moments musicaux and Sonatas 18 and 21 (plus a few miniatures). Once again, Schiffplays on a four-pedal Brodmann fortepiano, the sound of which takes a little getting used to.

The opening chord of the first D899 Impromptu brings me up short each time I hear it, compelling my ears to adjust to the instrument’s unusual sound palette. But as the piece proceeds, Schiff’s magisterial playing and the music’s still-astonishing invention – 192 years on – shine through.

The Brodmann has a somewhat edgy tone, verging on clatter in its higher range, very unlike a modern grand piano. It is close to the sound-world Schubert would have had in mind when penning these works, and the instrument’s lesser power allows for greater intimacy and a softness of tone reminiscent of a guitar. This quality runs through the Klavierstücke and the slow movements of both sonatas. Schiff’s playing is sublime throughout but powerful when the need arises. Excellent sound.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica


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