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Ingrid Haebler’s SWR Schubert

Jed Distler

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

The third and fourth movements of Ingrid Haebler’s 1954 German radio G major Sonata D. 894 prove more fluid and less inhibited than in her relatively uptight stereo version. In the latter’s Rondo, for example, Haebler’s conscientiousness over details of articulation yields stiff and fussy results. Here the music truly takes wing, on account of Haebler’s lighter touch and faster tempo. Her lilting lines throughout the Menuetto contrast to the stereo recording’s square, choppy staccato articulation. In stereo, however, the first two movements benefit from the rich sustaining power of a superior instrument, not to mention Haebler’s use of an updated text.

Much as I admire Haebler’s intimately scaled stereo Schubert Impromptus D. 899, her 1957 broadcast traversals are generally more lithe and spontaneous, especially regarding the E-flat’s rippling scales and the A-flat’s cascading runs. Haebler’s 1957 G-flat, by the way, retains the once-common-now-discredited change in harmony on the fourth beat of measure five, while her Philips version follows the Urtext. In short, it’s good to have these enjoyable and decently engineered performances officially available in physical format.

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Impromptus D. 899: Lupu (Decca), Piano Sonata D. 894: Volodos (Sony); Pires (Warner)

    Soloists: Ingrid Haebler (piano)

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