Those who have read some of my posts about pianist
András Schiff (1953 – ) know that I hold him in high esteem.
Previously, I’d seen him play and coach aspiring musicians
in the performance of works by Johann Sebastian Bach
and Franz Schubert. I’ve also watched him play and discuss
the music of Franz Joseph Haydn, as well as play, conduct
and discuss the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. As a
performer, he probes deeply into the music, playing it so
beautifully and naturally that it’s a pleasure to hear.
After recently watching a two-hour and 40-minute DVD
about Ludwig van Beethoven’s last three Piano Sonatas,
composed between 1820 and 1822, I can add
Beethoven to the aforementioned composers that
I’ve observed Schiff play. Based upon this experience,
I can honestly say that I value this DVD more than the
others I’ve seen thus far in this series. As with all of these
Masterclass Media Foundation DVDs, the aim is
pedagogical; however, Schiff is the sole performer and
analyst on this disc, providing in-depth attention to the
riches within these works that is long overdue.
Recorded in 2007 at the Royal Academy of Music in
London, I give top marks to this lecture/recital wherein
Schiff illuminated Beethoven’s final Piano Sonatas in an
authoritative, but accessible fashion.