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Andreas Haefliger: Perspectives 3
By Jonathan Woolf
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 28, “Pastorale” (1801) [24:19]
Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata” (1804-05) [24:36]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Piano Sonata No.21 in B-flat D960 (1828) [41:22]
Andreas Haefliger (piano)
rec. September 2007, Reistadel-Neumarkt/Oberpfalz
Haefliger’s discographic ventures are often marked by a steadfast and concentrated focus. This is the third of his ‘Perspectives’, a series nomenclature that serves as a divining rod for his serious minded musicianship. It also reflects accurately his recital programming, so that this musician’s dual activities are honestly reflective of each other and the intention is to bring ‘the recital experience to the living room.’
The three chosen works this time are just too long for a single disc. No matter. Haefliger’s way with Beethoven is a thoroughly sympathetic and just one. His playing in the D major is finely calibrated and he responds, in an occasionally leisurely way, to the broadening sense of the music’s lyricism. The slow movement unfolds naturally, with tonal fullness and a splendid sense of internal dialogue whilst the scherzo is illuminated by measured weight and a sense of anticipation. I suppose that elegance and clarity can best sum up the finale.
A fine though malleably flexible tempo courses through the Allegro assai of the Appassionata. This is music making unimpeded by anything spurious or unnecessary. In some ways, therefore, Haefliger is a reviewer’s nightmare; his phrasing is so convincing, the weight between right and left hand so justly balanced, and his pedalling so judicious that one scratches one’s head wondering how best to report playing of such enviable humanity and technical accomplishment. Sometimes, I think, it’s best simply to state the obvious; this is beautiful playing.
He has chosen to partner the two Beethoven sonatas with Schubert’s B flat, D960. Once more, he refuses to shy away from bigger reportorial challenges. And once more his generosity and simplicity – qualities that mask a manifold array of intellectual and digital qualities – disarm critical argument. Here, on its own terms, is a performance of fluency and rhythmic acuity, with gravity and obvious depth of utterance in the Adagio. A complete lack of affectation marks out a performance such as this; vitality, vibrancy and reflection are held in perfect accord. It’s the kind of performance to which one listens with admiration and respect.
As indeed one does throughout.