Paul Lewis – Weber & Schubert: Sonatas (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 57:28 minutes | 865 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © harmonia mundi
Even if both of them were destined to die tragically of illness at a very early age (Weber at 39, Schubert just 31!), the two composers on this disc were healthy enough when they wrote these works, and were even beginning to taste success. Except that it was not to the piano sonata that they owed their fame: not without a twinkle in his eye, Paul Lewis has coupled their works in this genre in order to paint a different and highly elegant portrait of two musical dramatists who were emblematic figures of Austro-German Romanticism.
With both of their lives cut short before they reached forty years of age, one from tuberculosis and the other from syphilis, the piano sonatas that Weber and Schubert left behind have either long been forgotten or are unheard of among pianists and the public. Luckily, this has been rectified for Schubert’s works thanks to pioneering pianists such as Artur Schnabel and Wilhelm Kempff, but more must be done for the works of Carl Maria von Weber who is still primarily known for his opera Der Freischütz(The Marksman).
It takes an exceptional musician to bring forgotten music back to life and that is exactly what Paul Lewis does in this new album after having previously released fantastic interpretations of Beethoven and Schubert under the same French record label, Harmonia Mundi. Weber was around at the same time as Beethoven and was one of the first piano virtuosos from the beginning of the 19th century. His dazzling technique can be heard in this Sonata No.2 in A flat major which is both a virtuosic and a classic work that opened the door to romanticism for many other composers thereafter. The Sonata in B major, D 575 is actually from the same year that Schubert celebrated his twentieth birthday and sought independence from his parents to become a prolific composer, despite all the risks that came with a career as an independent artist at that time.
This captures the beginning of romanticism and is an original and exciting pairing between two composers who appreciated each other’s work, but whose styles were diametrically opposed: the bright lights and panache for Weber and the melancholy soul for Schubert. – François Hudry
Carl Maria von Weber (1786 – 1826): Piano Sonata No. 2 in A-flat major, Op. 39:
1 I. Allegro moderato, con spirito ed assai legato14:11
2 II. Andante. Ben tenuto07:05
3 III. Menuetto capriccioso. Presto assai04:08
4 IV. Rondo. Moderato e molto grazioso07:02
Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828): Piano Sonata in B Major, D. 575, Op. Posth. 147:
5 I. Allegro ma non troppo08:41
6 II. Andante05:46
7 III. Scherzo Allegretto05:14
8 IV. Allegro giusto05:21
Paul Lewis, piano