Krystian Zimerman SCHUBERT Piano Sonatas D 959 & D 960

Krystian Zimerman, in his first solo album for Deutsche Grammophon for over twenty-five years, unlocks the drama and intensity of Schubert’s late piano sonatas.
Every new recording by Krystian Zimerman is sure to command worldwide critical acclaim. The legendary Polish pianist’s latest title for Deutsche Grammophon, his first solo album since the early 1990s, is set to take its place among the great Schubert recordings. Scheduled for international release on 8 September 2017, it contains revelatory readings of the Piano Sonata No. 20 in A major D959 and Piano Sonata No. 21 in B flat major D960, works written just months before the composer’s death at the age of thirty-one. Zimerman’s profound recorded interpretations flowed from his experience of performing the works many times in recent seasons and of becoming fully immersed in Schubert’s late creative world in the process. His approach highlights the experimental, visionary nature of both sonatas, the revolutionary work of a man looking forward to the future rather than dwelling on thoughts of death.
Krystian Zimerman used the approach of his sixtieth birthday – which he celebrated last December – as the motivation to explore Schubert’s final sonatas. “I had such respect for these works and for the late sonatas of Beethoven but with that came tremendous fear,” he recalls. “I realised it was time, as I came to a new stage in my own life, to find the courage to perform these late works. I let go of the old stories about this being music by a man aware that he was about to die. Schubert was ill, yes, but he was still in very good shape and filled with a wonderful sense of humour when he wrote what proved to be his final sonatas. I am sure he was looking ahead. The Sonata in A major, for example, is such a modern work. And it has so much to say about life here, as does the Sonata in B flat major.”
Zimerman found ideal conditions for his Schubert recording at the Kashiwazaki City Performing Arts Centre in Japan. The pianist gave a fundraising recital in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck the town and its surrounding region in 2007; in return, the mayor offered Zimerman exclusive use of Kashiwazaki’s concert hall as a recording venue. For the sessions in January 2016, the pianist used a keyboard he himself had constructed especially for his Schubert performances, which was fitted to a local Steinway concert instrument. The results combine extraordinary details of articulation and orchestral depth with a singing line and warm tone.
“It is a tremendous privilege to work with an artist of such rare genius and relentless commitment to excellence,” comments Dr Clemens Trautmann, President Deutsche Grammophon. “Krystian Zimerman’s understanding of Schubert’s two late piano sonatas has grown over several decades and can be perceived in every note of his recording, in phrasing of extraordinary subtlety, in his exquisite singing tone, and in his feeling for the poetry as well as the daring structure and compelling clarity of the music. There’s no trace of cloying sentimentality. This new album will surely take its place in company with the greatest in the catalogue.”

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