Warner Classics 0190295974954
She handles seven of Schubert’s sonatas with ultimate control and detailed shadings, particularly the slow movements of D 959, D 960 and D 664, where melodic sequences unfold in a hue of generous pedaling.
Schubert is the master of musical modulations and Leonskaja’s commanding, spacious phrasing brings masterful clarity to “Wander Fantasy,” where her dramatic account allows the “Adagio” to teeter between sublime purity and volcanic tension. Other highlights include the declamatory introspection projected in Impromptu No. 1, D 899 and floating lyricism given “Impromptu No. 1 in F minor, D 935.”
The familiar Piano Quintet D 667, nicknamed “The Trout,” in partnership with the Alban Berg Quartet and bassist Georg Hoertnagel, is performed with temperament and stylistic finesse. Fans of Schubert’s piano music - this recording is for you.
Elisabeth Leonskaja has made Vienna, Austria her base for thirty-eight years and is viewed by many as a quasi-mythical artist who collaborated with Sviatoslav Richter, won prizes at prestigious piano competitions and enjoys an active career as soloist and chamber musician. An interview in Der Standard newspaper included her comment about the respected Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh: “During the intermission of Vegh’s concert at the Salzburg Festival, someone asked him, ‘Tell me professor, how do you make Mozart,’ to which he replied, ‘I do not make Mozart, Mozart makes me.’” (12.18.2016)
Her latest release makes Leonskaja one of the leading Schubert interpreters of our time as evidenced in a selection of this composer’s works recorded between 1985-1997 and packaged in six discs.
Leonskaja’s interpretations have the emotional depth of a Dostoyevsky novel that draws out pathos, joy, humor. If sound were a dessert, hers would be comparable to the richest chocolate mousse; if touch were an ocean, hers is broad and pliable.