Valery Afanassiev: piano
Pianist Valery Afanassiev – renowned for his strikingly individual and deeply introspective interpretations of the music of Franz Schubert – has paired two often extrovert works by the composer: the set of “Six moments musicaux” and the “Sonata D 850”. Recorded in September 2010 at the Auditorio Radiotelevisione Svizzera, Lugano, this is ECM’s second Schubert recording by the Moscow-born pianist, having previously released a live recording of Afanassiev performing Schubert’s final “Sonata D 960” at the 1986 Lockenhaus Festival that has become a connoisseur’s favourite. Composed from 1823 to 1827, the year before the composer’s premature death, the “Moments musicaux” brim with song and dance, as well as Schubert’s characteristic mood swings from major to minor, from light to dark. The “Sonata D 850”, written in 1825, is one of Schubert’s most ebullient piano sonatas – with yodelling-like melodies, simulated horn calls and strongly syncopated rhythms – but like so many works by this composer, there are passages with an air of nostalgia and emotional ambiguity.