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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Paul Lewis, Schubert, Works for Piano, Vol. 2

When Paul Lewis played the concluding notes to this project, a collection of the significant later Schubert piano works, he must have known that he had nailed it. Because in the second, concluding installment, Schubert, Works for Piano, Vol.2 (Harmonia Mundi), that is exactly what he has done.

It's a phenomenal performance, with Maestro Lewis driving down to the core, the essence of these pieces, in a series of penetrating interpretations, some of the best ever. His abundant technique enables him to take some pieces at a rollicking clip, tackling the rapid passagework when it comes with an exciting exuberance, and always with the joy of bringing out the special quality of each piece, with deep understanding of and affection for the music.

That's the impression I got listening to these fine performances. It's some of Schubert's most compelling piano music: including the Wandererfantasie, 4 Impromptus D.935, Sonata no.16, and the 6 Moments Musicaux Op.94.

This is landmark Schubert pianism. Lewis triumphs with the passion and insight of a poet. These are performances to stir the senses and warm the heart. Schubert himself would be proud, I think. Can you tell I like this one?

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