Schubert’s imaginative world was built from the poetry he set to music throughout his life. The pianist Philippe Cassard has always felt close to those 'Wanderers', those Romantic landscapes studded by stars and moons, traversed by mountains and valleys, those quicksilver moods.
Philippe Cassard has chosen to couple D959 with the three great pieces for piano four-hands, composed over the previous nine months in 1828, to permit the listener to retrace the chronological trajectory in reverse, from the Sonata back to the Fantasy, and to realise that we have here a piano freed from all constraints, orchestral in its power, making use of every resource, cultivating the most extreme contrasts.
Of all possible chamber music combinations, ‘piano four hands’ is the one most complicated to get right: the seating position is unnatural (both players are decentred, the sound is no longer heard stereophonically), only one of the pianists plays the pedals, and the first player’s left hand and the second player’s right constantly get in each other’s way, which sometimes obliges one to adopt acrobatic positions and contortions if one wishes genuinely to play (well) all the written notes.To then play together in a natural manner is a true challenge.
Cédric Pescia is a born Schubertian. He knows how to convey 'Sehnsucht', that compelling melancholy inseparable from so many of the Viennese composer’s works. He has adopted, in his phrasing, the gait of the walker that traverses Schubert’s landscapes. His sonority is songlike, delicate, yet he is capable of unleashing storms in the most dramatic passages!
This album, gathering together four masterpieces of the year 1828, is a declaration of unbounded love for Schubert.