Franz Schubert: Sonatas & Impromptus by András Schiff
The piano is a fascinating instrument that went through many iterations before it became what we know it as today. Originally known as the ‘fortepiano’, it was the first keyboard instrument to reliably play ‘forte’ (loud) and ‘piano’ (soft). Through many more tweaks, trials and changes it became the modern concert grand piano and the original fortepiano fell out of production in the late eighteenth century. With the rise of the historical performance movement in the second half of the twentieth century, however, some modern piano masters started to revitalise the instrument for modern performers to explore their unique sound.
This sound is at the forefront of Andras Schiff’s latest Schubert offering. From the opening chords, the sweetness of the instrument makes Schubert’s works sparkle. All the works chosen for this album were written towards the end of Schubert’s life (he died in 1828) and show a maturity in compositional style, as seen in the obvious Beethoven influences that he twists in a particularly Schubertian manner.
This recording was made with Schiff’s own instrument, an original (but refurbished) 1820 Franz Brodmann Viennese fortepiano. Combined with Schiff’s ease and delicacy of touch, his fortepiano is just right for these works in a way no modern piano can ever quite replicate.