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CD Review

Franz Schubert

Piano Sonatas

  • Piano Sonata #17 Op. 53, D. 850 "Gasteiner"
  • Piano Sonata #9 Op. 147, D. 575
Jenő Jandó, piano
Naxos 8.554382
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  • Sonata #20, D. 959
  • Sonata #15, D. 840 "Relique"
Jenő Jandó, piano
Naxos 8.554470
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Here are two more issues in Jandó's ongoing cycle of Schubert sonatas. Jandó is an extremely versatile fellow, convincingly playing works by fellow Hungarians Liszt and Bartók, by Beethoven and Schubert, and by many others. In sum, his repertory is comprised of a vast number of works by a variety of composers from varying periods, but a variety he has demonstrated considerable knowledge of and sensitivity toward.

In the Schubert sonata repertory here he must contend with the likes of Uchida and Brendel, both on Philips. Actually, he acquits himself relatively well here, for where Uchida is the essence of subtlety and Brendel the 'defender of the faith' when it comes to the composer's intentions, Jandó is spirited and generally muscular, having a pianistic arsenal not as rich in nuance, not as broad in color as that of some others, but still effective in expressive content and a sense for atmosphere.

His 'Gasteiner' Sonata comes across with commitment and a sense of energetic joy, making the performance a bona fide contender, at the very least. His B Major (D. 575) is a little less successful in its somewhat over-eager manner, but still quite convincing. The great Sonata #20 (D. 959) is given an appropriately epic reading, with a fine sense for contrast and color, even if it doesn't rise to the level of subtlety achieved by Uchida, Brendel and others. The performance of D. 840 is muscular and lively, perhaps not as nuanced as some Schubertians would like, but a committed performance still.

Some reviews from earlier in this series have been mixed, those on the down side being quite negative. But Jandó is a sensitive artist in this repertory who can hold his own against most of the competition. Uchida and Brendel may be preferable – marginally, in many cases – but at Naxos' price Jandó's performances will be quite attractive and fully satisfying to many potential buyers, especially those new to the repertory. Naxos provides excellent sound and notes.

Copyright © 2002, Robert Cummings