Thursday, 24 September 2015

Schubert - Le Voyage Magnifique (Impromptus) - Pires

Rating: 5/5

Fabulous music, played to perfection

This wonderful set has been among my very favourites for many years now. I agree with the enthusiastic reviews here - this is fabulous music played to perfection.

Schubert's Impromptus are truly great, mature works. There is a lovely variety between them but they share a true, enduring beauty and often a marvellous serenity as in D899 No.3 or a shimmering loveliness as in D899 No.4. They are somewhat more accessible than the Piano Sonatas, but no less great as music and I love them dearly.

Maria Joao Pires Plays them simply perfectly to my ears. Her technical brilliance means that she can let the pieces glide and shimmer without ever losing the sense of their real weight and quality, and she seems to invite the listener to share her obvious love of the music. I find listening to her play these pieces a truly transporting experience. There have been many great recordings but this stands out for me as my favourite (possibly rivalled by Mitsuko Uchida).

I have to say that the notes are the most silly and pretentious that I have ever read (with the possible exception of those for Yo Yo Ma's Inspired By Bach) but, as with the Ma set, the music is sublime and makes them irrelevant. I cannot recommend this set too highly - it's a gem.

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