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Andras Schiff is note-perfect at Strathmore / Washington Post

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Hungarian pianist András Schiff has become, like Alfred Brendel and Richard Goode before him, something of a hierophant of the central Austro-German canon. Now in his early 60s, his stature is such that he can focus almost exclusively on the masterpieces of Bach, Beethoven and Schubert without bothering with lesser or more esoteric repertoire. His many recordings (he has done the "Well-Tempered Clavier" twice) are widely acknowledged as touchstones, and Sunday he delivered late sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to a rapt house at Strathmore. The playing was note-perfect and affectionate, though a little self-indulgent at times.

The recital, presented by Washington Performing Arts, was the first of three (the remainder to be given next season) surveying the final sonatas of the four composers. Despite a plethora of ideas in the earlier sonatas, it was clear that the concert's closing work, Schubert's C Minor Sonata (D. 958), was Schiff's focal point and destination.

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