Stories » Andras Schiff brings his three-part Sonata exploration to Strathmore / Washington Post

Top 10 for Jun

Andras Schiff brings his three-part Sonata exploration to Strathmore / Washington Post

Bookmark and Share

Certain artistic projects are steeped in an air of reverence from the moment of their conception. So it is with Sir Andras Schiff's "The Last Sonatas," a three-part exploration of the three final sonatas written by the four quintessential composers of the Classical era: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. (Washington Performing Arts presented Part 1 here in March.) The very idea is permeated with the air of the elegiac, of lost perfection, channeled by a performer who sometimes seems to move in his own atmosphere, stirred by some inner breeze or lit by an inner light, and certainly to follow his own tempi.

Which added up, in the second installment on Monday night at Strathmore, to something that sometimes threatened to succumb under the weight of its own greatness. Schiff has a caressing, gentle touch; even at his most emphatic, he draws music from the keys rather than banging it out of them. He spoke at the start of the evening of playing in the Viennese dialect, although his simile specifically referenced his instrument of choice, a Bösendorfer, which he introduced in a few words to the audience before the concert. "I would like to challenge the preconceived idea that a piano has to be a Steinway," he said, noting the wide range of instruments that were available in Mozart's and Beethoven's Vienna. "I think it's a good opportunity to listen to something else."  

READ THE FULL Washington Post ARTICLE