Revista Musical Catalana

SPRINGTIME CONCERT SERIES. Katia Michel, piano. The last three sonatas by Schubert. MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM OF CERVERA. MARCH 23, 2014. By Santi Riu

(…) The three last sonatas for piano by Franz Schubert were written in the last months of the composer’s life. They are mature works, imbued with emotion and nostalgia, passion and intimacy, melancholy and acceptance. Connected in a cyclical way through structural, harmonic and melodic elements, they can be considered a trilogy. It is not often that one hears them all together on a concert program, because of the demands made not only on the performer but also on the listeners – the complete program is quite long, each sonata lasting more than thirty minutes – but when played together the three pieces are delightful to hear.

More intimate than Beethoven and yet imbued with a Mozartian rhythmical pulse, Schubert demands a reflective performer, capable of bringing out the lyrical beauty as well as the most intimate melancholy. The sonata in C minor, D. 958, begins with the impulse of ominous fortissimos, seemingly influenced by Beethoven; then comes an unsettlingly quiet section that is distinguished by a feeling of darkness and anguish. In the “Adagio”, Katia Michel invoked a reflective character, in an atmosphere that can still be deeper, with a vivid sense of approaching danger. The sonata ends with an “Allegro” of overflowing vigor (…) Katia Michel presented the musical suspense and the drama to perfection.

The sonata in B-flat Major, D.960, is the favorite of many people. This is easy to understand: Schubert’s bare soul appears before us in this sonata. It starts with a faintly lyrical theme that slowly assumes a more dramatic character and that is somehow disquieting. Katia Michel brought out the touching melancholy that flows through this movement in a subtle, profound and poetic way. (…)