Ronald Farren-Price, Franz Schubert Sonata No. 20 in A Major D. 959 / Franz Schubert, Ronald Farren-Price
Ronald Farren-Price is the grand old man of the piano in Australia. His international career began with his recognition by the legendary pianist, Claudio Arrau, under whose guidance his distinctive style of playing matured. Here he masterfully delivers four movements of this rich and engaging Sonata by Schubert.
Schubert died in November 1828 at the age of thirty-one. Two months before, in September of that year, he finished three long piano sonatas and after that he completed the now great String Quintet in C major. During his last year there
must have been times when he was severely ill, for it is now believed that he had signs of tertiary syphilis. His masterworks from this time therefore represent a creative fortitude that is unmatched. It was decades before pianists developed an appropriate stylistic approach to the Schubert sonatas so as to reveal their singing quality and haunting harmonies. Their balance of strength and delicacy is destroyed if they are played in an over dramatic manner or given an excessively romantic interpretation. The first champion of Schubert's music was Robert Schumann who wrote rapturously about its melodic and harmonic beauty. It had been Schubert's intention that the sonatas be dedicated to the pianist-composer J. N. Hummel who had been taught by Mozart and who continued the Mozart tradition that Schubert was also steeped in. But Hummel died shortly after Schubert and the publisher took the liberty of dedicating the posthumous work to Schumann, a tribute to his pioneering appreciation of Schubert's beautiful music.
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