Schubert: Piano Sonatas / Badura-skoda
Label: SONY CLASSICAL
Paul Badura-Skoda is unquestionably the outstanding Schubert pianist of the 20th century, declared the Leipzig Volkszeitung in 2012. An astute interpreter, a sensuous singer on the keyboard, one who plumbs the notes fully yet treats each one with love and intelligent solicitude. Coinciding with the pianists 90th birthday later this year, Sony Classical is pleased to announce the first CD release of Badura-Skodas complete recording of the Schubert sonatas, an LP collectors item ever since its original publication in 1971. Born on 6 October 1927 in Vienna, Paul Badura-Skoda studied there at the Conservatory and later with the legendary pianist Edwin Fischer in Switzerland. In 1949, the still-unknown young artist was engaged as soloist by both Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan for their concerts in Vienna. His international breakthrough came in 1950 when he substituted on short notice for his ailing mentor, Edwin Fischer. That same year he began recording for the new vinyl LP medium. Three years later, when he made his New York debut, American music lovers still knew Badura-Skoda only from his records; yet the recital attracted a capacity audience. Encouraged by the Vienna-born RCA Victor executive George Marek, Badura-Skoda recorded all of Franz Schuberts sonatas including his own completions of several works left unfinished by the composer between May 1967 and May 1971. A few of the sessions (which were produced by the incomparable Max Wilcox) took place in New York at RCA Recording Studio A, but most were held in the Vienna studios of Westminster Records president James Grayson. Badura-Skoda then was playing on a modern grand piano. In the 1990s, this ever-enterprising artist whose remarkable recording career continues to this day would remake the Schubert cycle using his own fortepianos. When RCA released the complete set of sonatas on 13 LPs at the end of 1971, the Gramophone reviewer showered Badura-Skodas interpretations with praise: As a fellow Viennese he has the style in his blood and loves the music. Nothing is over-driven or inflated. Schubert for him is no would-be Beethoven: he conveys the musics relaxed lyricism, its basic simplicity, emphasizing romantic dreams more than the stern, classical sonata heritage. Now this very special set is available again, newly remastered from the original analogue masters for its first CD appearance as a 12-disc box. Paul Badura-Skodas Schubert is a must-have for lovers of great piano music, performed with the utmost love and understanding.