SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960; 6 Moments musicals, D. 780 – Dejan Lazic, piano – Channel Classics

by | Sep 21, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

SCHUBERT: Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960; 6 Moments
musicals, D. 780 – Dejan Lazic, piano – Channel Classics Multichannel
SACD CCSA 20705  71:26 ****:

A relatively youthful virtuoso, Croatian pianist Dejan Lazic (b. 1977)
is no less an accomplished clarinet instrumentalist who once played
Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and the E-flat, K. 449 Piano Concerto on the
same program!  He also looks a cross between actors Robert Downey,
Jr. and Michael Keaton. Performing on the Steinway D in 2004 in
location in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Mr. Lazic makes some exquisite
sense of Schubert’s monumental B-flat Sonata, whose ethos dictates and
rails against the sense of loss and personal anguish. The engineering,
by C. Jared Sacks, captures the muscular, even piercing sound of the
Steinway’s extreme registers, which Lazic must modulate with careful
pedaling to avoid crushing the tender grapes he proffers.

I do not know that the surround sound format makes a huge difference in
my perception of this rendition, though the third movement Scherzo does
pulsate bravely as the various registers reply to each other
quasi-antiphonally. The first two movements are sober and thoughtful,
with an excellent feel for the vertical aspects of Schubert’s
procedures. For sheer beauty of piano tone, this album is little short
of spectacular, a resonant yet pellucid balance of the keyboard’s
palette. Lazic is eager to apply a deft, svelte brush to the mercurial
aspects of the finale, with its alternate skittishness and sudden
plummeting of the emotional depths. For liquidity and long line, it may
not have its like since Lorin Hollander devastated me with his
performance at SUNY Binghamton in 1970. At the least, Lazic reminded me
of how wonderful this music is. The six pieces from D. 780 receive
their due as either brilliant miniatures or abbreviated
sonata-movements, again rendered with the pearly and often
scintillating tone Lazic packs in spades. While critics have likened
his style to Pogorelich and Mustonen, Lazic hits me with the same
forces of which Gary Graffman was a master forty years ago.  Very
impressive on all counts.

–Gary Lemco

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