FANFARE MAGAZINE

Franz Schubert

Piano Sonata in a, D 845. 3 Klavierstücke, D 946 Phillip Kawin (pn)

MASTER PERFORMERS 15 001 (69:41)

Every English-speaking person can recite Shakespeare’s “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer …” but only a handful are able to make the words do what they are supposed to do. So it is that thousands of pianists can play all the right notes in the most formidable works of Liszt and Chopin, but precious few can make them do what they are supposed to do—namely, reach the human heart. In the music of Schubert the task is perhaps more difficult than it is with any other composer, as it is impossible to hide behind one’s virtuosity.

 

One cannot lie in Schubert. Few pianists can play the beginning—or for that matter the middle or end—of Schubert’s great A-Minor Sonata and evoke its truth, depth, and power. Perhaps among recording artists today Maurizio Pollini (Deutsche Grammophon) or Mitsuko Uchida (Phillips) can, and certainly in the recent past Paul Badura-Skoda and Clara Haskil could, but now there is a new recording to put along side these venerable artists.

 

Phillip Kawin gives us all the necessary elements that make the diminutive composer with a gigantic soul come to life. Although his phrasing is supple, he generates a relentless pulse, which lies at the foundation of most of Schubert’s compositions, giving a sense of the inevitability of an end—the end of a phrase, the end of a composition, the end of a life. There is ingenuousness in the work of this pianist, who never once tries to upstage Schubert with his technical abilities or his personality. There is beauty of tone as well, and a deft sense of voicing, as for instance in the relationship of the tenor line to the soprano, which is often a very special relationship in Schubert’s piano writing.

 

I likewise admire the wonderful balance between the melodic line and the accompaniment in the allegretto movement of the Drei Klavierstücke. This movement is played with especial grace and modesty, but grace, modesty, and beauty of tone are present in every note of this admirable, lovingly played recording.

FANFARE: Raymond Beegle

Copyright © 2020 by Fanfare Inc.

More Reviews

International Piano / No. 59 September 2019

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor Op 37

Phillip Kawin (pf): Russian National Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz

Master Performers 19.001 – DVD & Blu-ray

Phillip Kawin’s performances are always deeply considered: he follows in a lineage from Cortot and was influenced by Dora Zaslavsky Koch, a student of Bauer and Backhaus...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 3 • Phillip Kawin (pn); Gerard Schwarz, cond; Russian Natl O • MASTER PERFORMERS 19 001 (DVD and Blu-ray: 38:02)

Approximately three minutes into the Allegro con brio, pianist Phillip Kawin commences his graceful and generous performance of Beethoven’s third piano concerto. With minimal melodrama and more playfulness and joy, the piece is highly colorful and emotive—the flutes, woodwinds, and French horns seem to hover somewhere near the ceiling, circling the orchestra with repeating melodies and themes...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Ludwig van Beethoven

iano Concerto No. 3 • Phillip Kawin (pn); Gerard Schwarz, cond; Russian Natl O • MASTER PERFORMERS 19 001 (DVD and Blu-ray: 38:02)

My last review of Phillip Kawin’s work (40:3) praised Kawin’s “subtlety, maturity, individuality, and musicality.” I have much the same reaction to his playing of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto. He makes one tasteful, sensitive choice after another throughout his performance of the piece...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 3 • Phillip Kawin (pn); Gerard Schwarz, cond; Russian Natl O • MASTER PERFORMERS 19 001 (DVD and Blu-ray: 38:02)

A new video release on the Master Performers label features a rendition of the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3, recorded in January of 2018 at Moscow’s Rachmaninov Concert Hall...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Ludwig van Beethoven

Piano Concerto No. 3 • Phillip Kawin (pn); Gerard Schwarz, cond; Russian Natl O • MASTER PERFORMERS 19 001 (DVD and Blu-ray: 38:02)

Sometimes I regret that I don’t know everything. Oh, I’ve claimed that I do often enough; but usually the person I am talking to suddenly walks quickly across the street and pretends to be intensely studying the manure display in the window of the farm supplies store...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Franz Schubert

Piano Sonata in a, D 845. 3 Klavierstücke, D 946 • Phillip Kawin (pn) • MASTER PERFORMERS 15 001 (69:41)

In the illuminating interview that serves as the program note for this release, Phillip Kawin clearly sets out his musical priorities: structural proportion and “balance between the many diverse elements,” coupled with a rich tone and singing legato. Those priorities emerge just as clearly in these finely poised and self-possessed performances, elegant in their touch, graceful in their phrasing (few sharp edges here), artful in their voicing...View more

FANFARE MAGAZINE

Franz Schubert

Piano Sonata in a, D 845. 3 Klavierstücke, D 946 • Phillip Kawin (pn) • MASTER PERFORMERS 15 001 (69:41)

We’re accustomed as reviewers to mention when a set of program notes is insightful or well written. Both are true for the notes to this Schubert album from Phillip Kawin, an admired faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music, a Schubert specialist as a performer, and an in-demand lecturer...   View more

Contact Phillip Kawin

© 2020 by Phillip Kawin