Daniel Barenboim made his name as a piano prodigy, but his gifts at the keyboard were long ago eclipsed by his emergence as a symbol of music itself, in which guise he returns to London this week, conducting the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. In these recordings, his first of Schubert’s piano sonatas, he confines himself to the 11 completed works.
Given the heroic scale of his pianism, this was always going to be an assertive, romantic Schubert – highly charged grandeur contrasted with expansive lyricism. The execution is less splashy than his Wigmore Hall recital three years ago, but anyone expecting to hear the introspective side of this sublime music will be disappointed.
(Deutsche Grammophon), 5 CDs
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