Ever since I read this review from the Good Music Guide  I have been curious to listen to Michail’s new CD especially after a wonderful performance of a Beethoven Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin with Veronika Eberle last week in St Lukes( broadcast on the 9th July).

Why should a first prize winner at the Bolzano competition want to bring out a CD with the G major and A minor Schubert Sonatas ……..I was curious to say the least.

This is a man with something to say who has that rare gift of  being able to make the music speak ,infact to tell a tale.

And what a tale it is that  he has to tell , and what a palette of colours he has at his fingertips .

That he is able to share this dream with us is nothing short of miraculous in this age where speed and agility seem to take top place.

Time in fact for Michail stands still as indeed I did when listening on the car radio.

I stopped the car anxious to savour every nuance.

Right from the opening of the G major totally too slow as was Richter,but they have the same dream that is totally convincing.It is also  allied to a beauty of sound and control that is very rare indeed .You never want it to end .

From the sheen of sound in the last movement on which floats the most wonderful totally unsentimental  melody that only Schubert  could  have spun to the dance rhythms so individually voiced it all seems to make more sense .

It is a seemingly  totally direct communication between the composer and the music …..the performer become almost irrelevant .

Here is the actual review from a real critic ……I can only voice my opinion as many have been  doing recently after Barenboims marathon in London recently .

Maybe he found it necessary in a big hall to play a Barenboim piano to try to find the intimacy that Michail has  found here on this  obviously superb Steinway in the very intimate space of a recording studio .

All food for thought but in the end all about music and very little to do with the remarkable show of  speed and agility that we are being are being regaled with from Moscow in these days.

And he asks me if I think it is a good review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Top flight stuff……..beautiful,rich,full and close…..beautiful playing


Can’t wait to hear it ……….. 





(This will be cross-posted in The Italian Invasion thread.) 

Release seven, and discs eight and nine.  Michail Lifits playing Schubert.  The twofer opens with a  slow D894, which opens with a slow Molto moderato e cantabile that tops 20′.  Lifits again plays with unfailing beauty, and his measured tempo does nothing to prevent the music from singing.  His loud playing is definitely loud, but not at all hard, and the sound is full.  The whole thing is almost beautiful to a fault, and I ended up being surprised (sort of) when the coda arrived, so quickly did the movement seem to go by.  The Andante carries on in exactly the same way.  I suppose it would be possible for there to be a bit sharper edges on some of the playing, and that some may find it too soft, but at the same time, the unending beauty is its own reward.  The Menuetto has more lyrical but striking playing in the outer sections, and the middle section is one of the purest, most delicate beauty.  The Allegretto lightens things up a bit to end the work, like a sort of slightly beefier D664.  Listeners who want a heavy, or hard, or intense D894 will probably not find this version to be among their favorites, but while I can and do enjoy those types of interpretations, this is just wonderful. 

The second disc contains D845.  Lifits again takes the piece on the slow side, which does not generally work as well here.  Lifits manages to make it work by ratcheting up the intensity and adding some real bite to his right hand sforzandi.  His hefty left hand playing also adds some scale.  The Andante likewise sounds lovely, but here Lifits plays the climaxes with some real intensity, and he plays some of the right hand passages in a sort of dreamy, stream of consciousness style that I really enjoy.  Only during the Scherzo’s outer sections does Lifits’ slow style show any signs of becoming too mannered.  That’s certainly not a problem in the vibrant Rondo, which finds Lifits playing the most animated fashion of either of his two Decca releases.  No, this is not a fire-breathing version like Friedrich Gulda’s, or a powerhouse reading like Radu Lupu’s, or a marmoreal reading like Maurizio Pollini’s, but I really, really dig it.  Really. 

So, for those who like rich, beautiful, warm Schubert with basically no true rough edges, this is a set to snap up.  If that reads like faint praise, it is not meant to: This is top-flight stuff. 

Sound is beautiful, full, rich, and close.  It is possible to hear Lifits breathing from time-to-time, yet there is no mechanism noise nor any other distractions to take away from the beautiful playing.



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