This two-CD set has over one hundred fifty minutes of masterworks by Franz Schubert, the great classical composer who emerged in the wake of Beethoven's death as the supreme creator of art song, influencing major composers in the nineteenth century such as Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Wolf, and Mahler. It was a natural consequence that Schubert's piano music would embrace the same melodic contours affording pianists opportunities to contribute personal colors using the voice as a model.
Michael Coonrod has dedicated nearly four decades to the performance of the repertoire assembled here, recorded in January and August of 2006. The music fuses passion, elegance, adventurous harmonic pathways--all within a refinement of pulse and articulation. This is why Schubert is considered a pivotal figure between the Classical and Romantic periods in music history.
In an era that did not have the massive number of concerts that we enjoy, composers frequently had only a single reading of new symphonic works, or none at all. (The great
C Major Symphony by Schubert was not heard until 1839, eleven years after Schubert's death.) As a result, composers would make transcriptions for solo piano or piano duet, played in homes and other informal settings. One of the qualities of Franz Liszt as a composer was to transform opera themes and art songs into piano pieces that remained faithful in mood to the original, but utilizing the idiomatic nature of the piano. The "lieder" heard on this recording are four of his best transcriptions.