Javier Perianes’ Surefire Schubert Coupling

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 10

Question: What do pianists Victor Rosenbaum, Anna Malikova, Rudolf Buchbinder, Philippe Cassard, Jenö Jandó, Mikhail Kazakevich, Radu Lupu, Klára Würtz, and now Javier Perianes have in common? Answer: They’ve all paired Schubert’s B-flat major D. 960 and A major D. 664 sonatas on disc. It’s a surefire coupling, and one sees the appeal in linking these melodically inspired yet markedly contrasted pieces. More to the point, Perianes often manages to make these frequently recorded works his own.

His flexibility in the B-flat Molto moderato’s exposition is discreetly proportioned, while exacting dynamic gradations illuminate the ambiguous abruptness of the first ending’s abrupt phrases and concluding low trill. Notice also the hypnotic, pendulum-like consistency of the ostinato accompniment in the Andante sostenuto’s opening pages. Perianes’ Scherzo stands out for his cameo-like treatment of the Trio, with its left-hand syncopations slightly underlined, although the outer sections come off a bit square when measured alongside Leon Fleisher’s pliable humor. The pianist imbues the Finale with intriguing contrasts in articulation, with his clipped, dry-point approach to the tumultuous minor-key theme’s unusual yet convincing broadenings and phrase groupings.

In Perianes’ hands the A major sonata’s first movement takes on a lean and angular profile that differs from the lyrical intimacy other pianists favor. He sustains his deliberate tempo for the central Andante well, even if I prefer Kempff’s faster fluency. However, Perianes’ fingerwork in the Rondo Allegro is supple and sophisticated, resisting predictable accentuation without sounding the least bit forced or eccentric. It reminds me of Fleisher’s early 1960s recording, albeit with more tonal allure on Perianes’ part. Very fine performances, all told, and for a D. 960/D. 664 coupling, you certainly won’t go wrong.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: D. 960: Fleisher (Sony), D. 664: Richter (Warner Classics)

    Piano Sonata in B-flat major D. 960; Piano Sonata in A major D. 664
  • Javier Perianes (piano)

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