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Andras Schiff mesmerizes with last sonatas of 4 composers / Los Angeles Times

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András Schiff played the last piano sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert Wednesday night in Santa Barbara's intimate Lobero Theatre, a program he will repeat Sunday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Schiff is a magnificent pianist, and these performances were profoundly illuminating. There wasn't a moment in the intense recital not made to mesmerizingly matter.

Schiff has been probing the idea of lateness all year, this program being the culmination of his examinations of the last three sonatas of the three composers who defined the Classical style and the outlier Schubert, who might have been the principal forger of Romanticism had he not died in 1828 at age 31, a year after Beethoven (27 years his senior).

These last sonatas are no more and no less than last thoughts on sonatas. Each represents something different musically and in the life of the composer. Haydn wrote his buoyant 62nd Sonata when he was 62 (Schiff's age), and then spent his last 15 years busy with other projects, such as major oratorios. Mozart was 33 when he wrote his Sonata No. 18, a simple piece on the surface but deliciously seditious on the inside, two years before his death.  READ THE FULL Los Angeles Times REVIEW