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Schubert Impromptu Op 90 No 2 in E-Flat Major - A Comparison Of Five Pianists


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Some comparison-and-contrast discussion about these various recordings of Schubert's Impromptu, Opus 90 Number 2, D899 in E-flat Major (The Schubert "D" numbers are analogous to the Mozart "K" numbers). There *are* no wrong statements or uninformed comments, and the only "stupid question" is the one that isn't asked - we all hear the exact same thing, and everyone's opinions and thoughts are equally valid.

I'm listing them from "longest-to-shortest video" i.e., kind-of, sort-of "slowest-to-fastest performance" although not really because they don't begin or end at the precise moment the YouTube video does - I figured it was as good a way to do it as any. Recording dates are best guesses, but are not promised to be accurate.

Please add your own performances (with your own comments) if you can find them on YouTube.

With YouTube, all you have to do is copy in the URL, and it auto-converts it somehow to the video - it's a nice luxury.

As an aside, note how the structure of this Impromptu is in very clearly defined A-B-A-B format.

PS - If you like the work I'm doing here, you can *always* share my posts on Twitter or Facebook by clicking on the little "less-than" sign at the top-right of the post, just to the right of #1. For example, if you click that, and then the Twitter logo, it will automatically come up as a Twitter post for you to share, and the entire process will take you two clicks, and less than five seconds. Hint, hint, hint. :)

Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991, Germany, recorded in 1965)

Krystian Zimerman (1956-, Poland, recorded in 1987)

Maria Joí£o Pires (1944-, Portugal, recorded in 1996)

Alfred Brendl (1931-, Austria, recorded in 1988)

Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997, Ukraine - recorded in 1958)

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Nice collection. Rocks. Did you exclude Lipatti's because you are not a fan of the Godzilla vs. Bambi epic?  :mellow:

While all these are probably best enjoyed on their own, we don't have such luxury by definition, and Zimerman's falls short in that it is too episodic next to the others. He's got beautiful moments, for sure, but there is no reason why this piece can't be a beautifully carved gemstone with structure and symmetry. Sticking with the metaphor, Kempff and Brendel provide plenty of structure and foresight, but fail to sharpen their carving tools - a somewhat dull ax in Kempff's case and the hammer of a troll in Brendel's. The other two are just brilliant IMO, with Richter's causing me to recall gentle images of eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

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