Schubert’s Piano Sonata in C Minor D858 was one of three he composed in 1828 during the last months of his life. For whatever reason, it wasn’t published for another ten years, and it lay neglected for most of the 19th century. Today, the piece is recognized as a prime example of his mature style – closely aligned in spirit to Beethoven who Schubert revered – and it’s one of two sonatas presented on Mathieu Gaudet’s Architect, the eighth in the series of Schubert’s complete sonatas.
The piece is formidable in length – roughly 36 minutes in total – and like the majority of Schubert’s sonatas, is a skillful essay in attractive melodies and carefully constructed details right from the dramatic opening movement. As seen in the previous recordings of the series, Gaudet approaches the score with an understated virtuosity, very much letting the music speak for itself. The frenetic and spirited finale is a true tour de force – not dissimilar in mood to the lied Erlkönig – and Gaudet easily handles the technical challenges, effectively tying all four movements of this lengthy work into a cohesive whole.
Coupled with this work is the Sonata No.9 D575 in the curious key of B Major completed in 1817. In contrast to the dramatic intensity of D858, this piece is all joviality. Gaudet’s highly expressive performance is solidly assured, perfectly conveying a joyous spirit throughout. An added bonus is the inclusion of the Two Scherzos D593 which are a light diversion between the two larger works, helping round out a most satisfying program.