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Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major D959 (1828)
Three Klavierstücke D946
Joyce Hatto (piano)
Recorded Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, April 1990 and May 2000
Piano Works Volume 1
CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9063-2 [69.51]



Joyce Hatto’s Schubert Sonata cycle is becoming available on Concert Artist. They have so far been recorded over the decade from 1990 – 2000 and are now available singly and I have reviewed all four on this site. It goes without saying that Hatto is a formidable technician whose sense of clarity and form has before been noted as salient features of her profound musicality. The opening volume begins with the litmus test of D959 in A major, coupled with the three Klavierstücke D946.

The opening movement of the Sonata opens with unusual pliancy and relatively slowly. She makes much of the internal contrasts in this Allegro but there are times when she stretches the line almost to breaking point, a danger she meets with characteristic finger control and nuance. That this is not going to be a heaven-storming example of Schubertian rhetoric is shown by the Andantino. Against Kempff’s overt affection, against Schnabel’s moving depth Hatto instead brings relatively clipped articulation, a sense of cleanliness and almost of anti-romantic linearity and objectivity. To me the lack of titanic struggle gives the movement too scrubbed a sound world but others will, I’m sure, admire its resolve and determination. The Scherzo however is pearly and vivacious and has rather an italicised central section. The finale features good pointing and elasticity and though the themes are gathered up and redeployed well there is a certain lack of phrasal inexorability about the playing. The three Klavierstücke go well; I especially admired the simple songful lilt of the E flat as well as the infectiously deadpan C major.

Jonathan Woolf

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