First published in the Guardian on 13 April, 2017
Schubert: Piano Sonatas D.960 & D.664
Javier Perianes (Harmonia Mundi)
Javier Perianes revealed to the Guardian that his most memorable ever live concert experience was hearing the great Romanian pianist Radu Lupu playing Schubert’s Sonata in B-flat major D 960. He said he would “never forget that emotion from the very first to the very last note”. Now he has recorded that same sonata — Schubert’s last — and made his own very personal account of its huge emotional scope. With Perianes the touch is always warm and the edges are never harsh: the hymn-like opening is whispered and tender, the exploratory passages are wide-eyed and the song-like melodies really sing. He doesn’t get the glimpses of rage and terror that some performances do, but instead gives us sensitivity and unguarded rapture. He pairs D 960 with the blithe A-major sonata D 664 and now brings space and weight to music that some pass off as slight. It’s generous playing.