Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Impromptus, D. 899 [27:40]
Piano Sonata in B
flat, D. 960 [43:19]
Sodi Braide (piano)
rec. 2012, Saint Bonnet Theatre, Bourges, France
SOLSTICE MUSIC SOCD309 [71:00]
Sodi Braide is an English pianist, now based in Paris, who was born to
Nigerian parents. I wonder if Schubert could have imagined that a performer
of that description would ever play his music. This recital combines two of
Schubert's late masterworks, the Impromptus D. 899 and Sonata in B flat D.
960 and there is a lot of very enjoyable playing on it.
My favourite performance might be the first one up: Braide's
straightforward interpretation of the first impromptu. By going just a
little fast, but not too much, he's able to avoid sentimentalizing the
piece. It sounds like a well-structured allegro, not a weepy ballad.
Braide's direct, flowing, fearless playing also serves the second and final
impromptus well, although maybe not the third, the famous piece in G flat.
Here he gets the tempo absolutely right but maybe not the soft tenderness. I
have been spoiled lately by period-instrument performances which exploit the
1830s pianos' more powerful moderator pedals. The comparison is probably
There's also a lot to admire in the Sonata. I especially like Braide's
risky decision to play the second movement very, very slowly (10:44), which
he executes near-perfectly. He controls the pace very well and never seems
to drag; Edward Rosser's similar take
might be a bit more
hypnotic. That said, Braide's first movement is perfectly paced and
beautifully played too. He plays the scherzo fast and with a hard edge, for
maximum contrast with what's gone before.
The album, recorded in 2011, is not perfectly engineered. The piano sounds
too "bright," so some high notes give off a kind of piercing "glare". I hope
the metaphor is clear. It's not enough to prevent a recommendation,
especially if you're not listening on ultra-fancy equipment.
I hope we'll be hearing more from Sodi Braide. He has given us a very good
Schubert recital, and also a personal, engaging booklet essay that includes
a lengthy quote from Schubert's diary. Most enjoyable.