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Andras Schiff's Confessional Schubert / NPR: Deceptive Cadence

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Twenty years ago, pianist András Schiff did not hide his disdain for the fortepiano - the smaller, quieter precursor to the modern grand piano. In the liner notes of five separate Schubert albums Schiff released in the early 1990s, he wrote: "Schubert's piano music has luckily not been discovered yet by specialists playing copies of Graf fortepianos."

And with that Schiff landed a double blow. Players of fortepianos were merely "specialists" - and they were clearly misguided in performing Schubert's music on the very type of instrument the composer knew firsthand.

What a difference a couple of decades makes.

Schiff is now about to release a double Schubert album (June 2) and guess what type of keyboard he's graduated to? It's a fortepiano from the very time and place Schubert was composing his piano music, a refurbished instrument built by Franz Brodmann in Vienna around 1820. (Schiff actually owns the fortepiano, which he's loaned to the Beethoven House in Bonn, Germany.)


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