Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gidon Kremer, Valery Afanassiev|
Schubert: Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D. 960
Genres: Jazz, Classical
A stunning take on Schubert
John Grabowski | USA | 08/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's a shame no one has reviewed this disc yet, and it's virtually unknown. This is the most original and persuasive statement on D 960 I've ever heard. I've never heard an Afanassiev performance before, and it's dangerous to generalize from just one, but I'd say so far the man reminds me a lot of Anatol Ugorski--someone who ignores trends in interpretation and thinks for himself.Afanassiev takes the odder elements of this piece--the strange bass rumblings, the suddenly pauses, the shift of emotional gears between ii and iii and iii and iv--and runs with them rather than deemphasizing them. I have no idea (nor do I care) if this is "how Schubert actually played it," but I do know one thing: this approach emphasized for me how avant-garde this sonata was for the time without detracting from the structure and flow. In other words, Afanassiev really makes you hear a piece you know by heart with fresh ears, as though we were privy to one of the first performances of the work. (Ugorski, whether you agree with his interpretations or not, has that same quality.) Afanassiev doesn't always find tension in the places you expect, and his climaxes aren't the same as other pianists', but that's okay too. The result is a sealed-off universe, like nothing you've heard before, with a feeling of tragic inevitability. His sound is clear, like looking into a still pond. The word "luminous" is such a cliche, but it's true here. This reminds of what Lupu's performance (fine in its own right) tries to be, but fails. Or at least doesn't make the startling impression this does. Words aren't doing this disc justice no matter how hard I try, so you should just order it and see for yourself. It's a pity this disc is such a sleeper, but along with several other ECMs I've gotten recently I must say I'm impressed by both performances and sound. (This is a live 1986 performance, but the audience is totally silent until the end and there is no reason to avoid this disc for fear of extraneous noise.) ECM could emerge as one of the label leaders, with so many of the majors going to hell in a hurry.Grab this disc. It's one for the desert island."