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Classical 101

Andras Schiff in Recital at Carnegie Hall on Classical Showcase

The "Carnegie Hall Live" series on Classical Showcase Friday evening at 7 will feature a solo piano recital by Andras Schiff.  He'll play sonatas by four great composers, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, from late in their careers.

Hungarian  Andras Schiff, who is now 61, is himself maturing into the later years of a steadily ascending career and becoming one of our most highly regarded pianists.  He certainly got off to a great start in back in the early 1980's when he began his series of well-regarded recordings for Decca Records of keyboard music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  Described as a thoughtful traditionalist, Schiff avoids flashy showmanship and focuses on the music itself.

Haydn's Piano Sonata in C Major, Hob. XVI: 50 is one of the last he composed and comes from 1794.  It was written for English pianist Therese Janson for Haydn's second visit to London, a trip that also produced the final symphonies he wrote.

Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109 from 1820, is one of the last three he wrote and takes us into more introspective and mysterious realms than some of his earlier sonatas.  After the earth-shaking "Hammerklavier," Sonata No. 29,  the following one, coming in at half the length, is of another dimension psychologically as well.

Mozart's Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 545 was written in 1788 about the same time as his Symphony No. 39.  It's one of his last, but who would have known that he would live only three more years to the age of 35?  Mozart described this sonata as "for beginners," and it's sometimes called "Sonata semplice."

Franz Schubert had only a few more months to live in 1828 when he wrote his Piano Sonata in C Major, D. 958.  It is one of the last three sonatas he wrote and expresses part of the final flowering of this musical genius who lived only to the age of 31.

Fittingly, this largest and most dramatic of the works on the program will conclude Andras Schiff's Carnegie Hall recital on Classical Showcase Friday evening at 7 on Classical 101.