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Complete Schubert Recordings 1932 - 1950 Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, January 1, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

While as an interpreter he is remembered most readily as an advocate of the piano music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Artur Schnabel's own favorite among the so-called "Great Masters" was Franz Schubert. Largely, Schnabel was able to record his little sips of Schubert in between great heaping gulps of Beethoven, and over a period of eighteen years managed to amass the 5 CDs worth of music that makes up Music and Arts' magnificent Artur Schnabel: The Complete Schubert Recordings. This set is "complete" in the sense that it includes every disc of Schubert that Schnabel made and approved for commercial release. There are a couple of Schubert/Schnabel recordings in the vaults at RCA that have never circulated and a live recording or two known primarily in the classical collector's "underground" that are probably wisely excluded here. The five disc selection as it stands is extremely generous -- both sets of Impromptus, three of the late sonatas, the Moments musicaux and four-hand works played with his son Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, including the Marches militaries. There is a selection of lieder performed with Schnabel's wife Therese Behr-Schnabel, a complete "Trout" Quintet and numerous smaller Schubert keyboard pieces scattered throughout the 5-disc set. Most Artur Schnabel solo recordings, made at EMI's Abbey Road studios for release on HMV and Victor between 1932 and 1950, have seldom wanted for re-issues. Arabesque put them out on LPs in the late 1970s, and EMI responded with their own Schubert re-issues in the1980s. Tapes created at that time remain the basis of what EMI continues to use in their single-disc Schubert/Schnabel entries, and if all one wants is a taste of this experience, these are still relevant despite their limited high-end response, errant pitch and audible turntable rumble. Comparatively the Music and Arts issue is not expensive when you consider what you are getting, and the quality of the transfers here, by Mark Obert-Thorn, are state of the art. There is an excellent booklet which includes rare photographs and an appreciation by pianist and critic Harris Goldsmith. In his time, Schnabel had to deal with bad editions, the limitations of early electrical, monophonic recording, occasional technical slips and other vicissitudes that Alfred Brendel, Maurizio Pollini and Walter Klein never had to contend with. When asked to retake a side by a recording director to cover for some mistakes, Schnabel once responded, "I might play it better, but it won't be as good." It is the spontaneity, warmth and humanism in Schnabel's Schubert that makes it indispensable, even as time and competition from younger artists, in superior sound, would normally make such performances seem obsolete. While many pianists play Schubert, doing a professional job of it technically and textually, Artur Schnabel makes you love the music, as he did. As to the initiative of carrying forward Schnabel's Schubertian efforts into the twenty-first century, Music and Arts' Artur Schnabel: The Complete Schubert Recordings is the gold standard. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis , Rovi
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Disc 2
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Disc 3
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Disc 4
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Disc 5
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Product Details

  • Performer: Artur Schnabel
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (January 1, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Music & Arts
  • ASIN: B000C6NO0U
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,545 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By James K. Hanson on October 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This box contains all of Artur Schnabel's Schubert recordings. Schnabel's reputation for intellectuality and musical integrity sometimes leads listeners to expect a kind of joyless Teutonic paragon when they hear him; in these Schubert records, to the contrary, one hears immense joy in the music, rhythmic freedom, insouciance, ecstasy. One of the great things about this box is the sound quality. Schnabel created a bell-like sound at the instrument, a lyrical, and to my ears, deeply affecting sound that is often lost in modern remastering. Not here. Some of Schnabel's pupils felt that his Schubert playing was even greater than his legendary Beethoven. Don't miss this opportunity to discover if they were right.
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Format: Audio CD
Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 899 (Op. 90)
1950 24:05

Impromptus (4) for piano, D. 935 (Op. posth. 142)
1950 32:43

Allegretto for piano in C minor, D. 915
1939 4:54

March for piano in E major, D. 606
1939 3:21

Moments musicaux (6) for piano, D. 780 (Op. 94)
1937 24:31

Piano Sonata No. 17 in D major ("Gasteiner"), D. 850 (Op. 53)
1939 37:53

Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major, D. 959
1937 34:50

Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major, D. 960
1939 36:46

Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello & double bass in A major ("Trout"), D. 667 (Op. posth. 114)
1935 34:16
Performed By : Alphonse Onnou / Artur Schnabel / Claude Hobday / Germain Prevost / Robert Maas

Schwanengesang (Swan Song), song cycle for voice & piano, D. 957 : 13. Der Dopplegänger
1932 4:15
Performed By : Artur Schnabel / Therese Behr-Schnabel

Schwanengesang (Swan Song), song cycle for voice & piano, D. 957 : 11. Die Stadt
1932 3:36
Performed By : Artur Schnabel / Therese Behr-Schnabel

Gruppe aus dem Tartarus II ("Horch, wie Murmeln"), song for voice & piano, D. 583 (Op. 24/1)
1932 3:34
Performed By : Artur Schnabel / Therese Behr-Schnabel

Der Kreuzzug ("Ein Münich steht in seiner Zell'"), song for voice & piano, D. 932
1932 4:11
Performed By : Artur Schnabel / Therese Behr-Schnabel

An die Laute ("Leiser, leiser, kleine Laute"), song for voice & piano, D. 905 (Op. 81/2)
1932 2:01
Performed By : Artur Schnabel / Therese Behr-Schnabel

Franz Schubert Listen Now! Ländler (16) & Écossaises (2) for piano (Wiener Damen-Ländler), D. 734 (Op. 67) : Der Musensohn, Op.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
I have several sets of Schubert's major piano works. This one is very special.

Listening to antique recordings like these is a peculiar experience. It's like reading a classic book in its first edition. The words may be the same as a modern edition, but the historic artifact lends a sense of authenticity, presence and personal intimacy with the past. It brings to mind not only the artists, but also the craftspeople who made the recordings, all long gone, whose care and talent have been magically preserved for nearly a century.

I leave it to other reviewers to speak of Schnabel's abilities as a Schubert interpreter. To me, he seems to combine poise, intelligence and no-nonsense vitality, and is obviously in love with the material.

Schnabel's recordings are not as technically precise as those released by modern performers. There are indeed long passages, and even entire works, of near-perfect execution. But there are also moments of raggedness, even sloppiness, of the kind you hear in almost any live performance. That's because Schnabel's recordings ARE live performances, completely unedited, unlike his modern competitors, who can go back and repair individual notes if necessary.

The audio restoration by Mark Obert-Thorn is very tasteful. He doesn't try to filter out every last bit of background noise. Instead, he seems to be striving for transparency, carefully equalizing the limited available spectrum for a natural, balanced sound. Listening with good headphones, you can discern the ambience of the London studio where these sides were cut. The dynamic range is surprising and very impressive.

If you're looking for flawlessly stunning execution in state-of-the-art digital sound, Mitsuko Uchida will take care of you. But if you want to reach back and touch the spirit of Romanticism, turn off the lights and put on this haunting set.
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