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Barry Douglas plays Schubert with style and elegance, even if some magic is amiss

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Schubert: Four Impromptus D899 & Sonata in A D959

Chandos CHAN 10933

3 stars

 

Cork School of Music allowed Barry Douglas to record in its auditorium. Nice, then, that the recording is clear and spacious and the Steinway well tuned. After a Brahms odyssey on disc, Douglas has turned to Schubert, and his fans should be happy with the second volume. His interpretations are straightforward: the Impromptus D899 are played with style and elegance. Nothing is too fast, and nothing too slow – it’s all a little mundane, though No 2 flows seamlessly with admirable technique and polish. The A major Sonata is held together well, but nothing special comes to the fore: I hear no especially deep understanding and no wonderment penetrating this dramatic work, and what should be one of the most spellbinding Andantinos. To explore this music more deeply, to grasp Schubert’s angst mingled with Viennese charm, turn to the likes of Barenboim, Schiff, Uchida, Brendel and Kempff. MD

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