SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in a, D 845. 3 Klavierstücke, D 946 • Phillip Kawin (pn) • MASTER PERFORMERS 15 001 (69:41)


By Raymond Beegle


Every English-speaking person can recite Shakespeare's "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer ..." but only a handful are able to make the words do what they are supposed to do. So it is that thousands of pianists can play all the right notes in the most formidable works of Liszt and Chopin, but precious few can make them do what they are supposed to do—namely, reach the human heart. In the music of Schubert the task is perhaps more difficult than it is with any other composer, as it is impossible to hide behind one's virtuosity. One cannot lie in Schubert. Few pianists can play the beginning—or for that matter the middle or end—of Schubert's great A-Minor Sonata and evoke its truth, depth, and power. Perhaps among recording artists today Maurizio Pollini (Deutsche Grammophon) or Mitsuko Uchida (Phillips) can, and certainly in the recent past Paul Badura-Skoda and Clara Haskil could, but now there is a new recording to put along side these venerable artists. Phillip Kawin gives us all the necessary elements that make the diminutive composer with a gigantic soul come to life. Although his phrasing is supple, he generates a relentless pulse, which lies at the foundation of most of Schubert's compositions, giving a sense of the inevitability of an end—the end of a phrase, the end of a composition, the end of a life. There is ingenuousness in the work of this pianist, who never once tries to upstage Schubert with his technical abilities or his personality. There is beauty of tone as well, and a deft sense of voicing, as for instance in the relationship of the tenor line to the soprano, which is often a very special relationship in Schubert's piano writing. I likewise admire the wonderful balance between the melodic line and the accompaniment in the allegretto movement of the Drei Klavierstücke. This movement is played with especial grace and modesty, but grace, modesty, and beauty of tone are present in every note of this admirable, lovingly played recording.


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