Schubert: Impromptus, D 899; Moments musicaux, D 780; Six German Dances, D 820

Reviewed on Mon 21 Nov, 2016

Ebb and flow, whether on a dangerous sea-bound current or in calmer climes, seems to me the very essence of Lars Vogt’s approach to this wonderful music, and I loved it.

Now this is what I like to hear: vivid declamation of material that I’ve known and loved for years, but which in the hands of a pianist – no, a musician – like Lars Vogt suddenly emerges as fresh-minted. In the first of the D 899 Impromptus Vogt’s mastery of dynamic, musical rests or the way Schubert’s pallor alters according to whether he’s inhabiting a major or a minor key make for a vivid musical narrative. At 3:41 both Schubert and Vogt abandon their stern stance for something altogether gentler, but within less than a minute the mood darkens again rising to a formidable level of protest by 5:21. Ebb and flow, whether on a dangerous sea-bound current or in calmer climes, seems to me the very essence of Vogt’s approach to this wonderful music, and I loved it. Those averse to minor mannerism might baulk at the way Vogt edges into the second Impromptu, but who could resist the rippling accompaniment of the third or the sheer character of the D 820 German Dances (the ones that Webern arranged for orchestra). The Moments musicaux are also exceptional, the fourth of them including some dramatic left-hand projection, the last wistfully sustained (it plays for 9:03). Vivid piano sound clinches a desirable deal, and there’s also an interesting interview with Vogt printed in the booklet. Excellent.
–Rob Cowan