Piano Sonata in B flat, D960
Piano Sonata in A, D664
Klára Würtz (piano)
Recorded 25 February 2014 in Westvest Church, Schiedam, Netherlands
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: July 2014
CD No: PIANO CLASSICS PCL0070
Duration: 65 minutes
The opening pages of Schubert’s B flat Sonata, taken at a well-judged Molto moderato, bode well for what turns out to be an impressive performance by the Budapest-born (in 1965) Klára Würtz. The lengthy opening movement, its scale enhanced by the observation of the exposition repeat, lasts here for 21 minutes: not as grand as Richter or as flowing as other pianists, but Würtz plays with poise, shaping the intimacies with sensitivity and also exploiting a wide dynamic range, so that the generally otherworldly mood is literally disturbed from time to time if without losing essential seamlessness.
Würtz may not, at this particular moment, have the insights of Brendel or Curzon, say, in their respective recordings (and there is a DVD of Curzon playing the work wonderfully for BBC cameras), but she has a stylistic mastery of the piece, always musical and without recourse to a subjective interpretation of Schubert’s last rite of a Sonata. With a slow movement that is solemnly delivered, yet with its central hymnal of hope made optimistic, then a scherzo taken quicker than many pianists, but with precise agility, its trio quick-paced too, and the finale made resolute yet shapely, there is much to admire. Indeed, Würtz gives an admirably straightforward but not impersonal account, certainly something for the library without it being a first choice.
The recording is excellent, loud, soft and volumes in between well catered for, save for the occasional digital click, faint but noticeable. That irritation continues into D664, a lovely work, lyricism and playfulness to the fore, which Würtz champions with contour and affection, and she observes both halves of the first movement to reveal its proper scale. The central Andante is melded as soulfulness from the salon, and the finale is full of sparkle, song and good feeling. Overall, this is a welcome release. One thing, I would urge Piano Classics to make more prominent the recording date and venue, and use a bigger font size.