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Franz Schubert: Sonata in A major D. 664 – Fantasy in C major D. 760 "Wanderer" – Allegretto in C minor D. 915 – Drei Klavierstücke D. 946

Georgy Tchaidze (Piano)
Recorded at the Banff Centre (October 2010) – 66’54
Honens Ref. #: 201101CD - Booklet in English and French

Russian-born, US-based pianist Georgy Tchaidze was First Laureate of the 2009 Honens International Piano Competition. The Honens takes place in Calgary, and the first competition was in 1991. The seventh competition will take place in October, 2012.

This recording is one of four recent releases on the Honens label. The other three feature Minsoo Sohn, winner (or first laureate) of the 2006 competition, and Tchaidze’s fellow laureates from 2009, Gilles Vonsattel and Evgeny Starodubstev (reviewed on this website).

These much-loved Schubert pieces have become essential works of the core piano repertory and (no surprise) are widely performed and recorded. This recording begins with the friendly A major sonata, D. 664 (Schubert’s 13th of 21 sonatas), written when he was 21 or 22. This is followed by the three piano pieces (D. 946) dating from 1828, the last year of his short life. The main work on the disk is the Wanderer Fantasy (dating from 1822), so named as many of the themes in its four movements are derived from one of the composer’s songs with that title.

After the exuberance of the Fantasy, the rather more ambiguous tonality of the Allegretto in C minor (composed in 1827) makes for an effectively contrasting coda.

There is nothing revelatory here - something that would he hard to achieve in any case, given the multiplicity of super-competent (even legendary) pianists who have recorded this material. A group of friends who are ardent piano afficionados listened to the recording and, as they do with all recordings, analyzed it thoroughly (this isn’t always fun). The consensus was that this is a well-produced recording, worthy of serious regard. Some thought the most challenging piece (the Fantasy) lacks a certain fluency, while others appreciated the fact that it isn’t too fluent (or “slick”). They would welcome the opportunity to hear Tchaidze in person, and would also like to hear what he would do with these pieces in, say, ten years.

Like the other Honens recordings, this was recorded at the Banff Centre, where producer Theresa Leonard and cohorts have achieved extremely nice sound and balance.

Michael Johnson




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