04 Schubert ImproptusSchubert – The Complete Impromptus
Gerardo Teissonnière
Steinway & Sons 30220 (steinway.com/music-and-artists/label/Schubert-the-complete-impromptus-gerardo-teissonnière)

Impromptu means “improvised,” a genre popular in 19th-century salons. It seems to be easily dashed off in one sitting although it’s hard to believe this, given their melodic richness, level of invention and perfection of form. Schubert’s eight pieces are part of the curriculum for any aspiring piano student about grade eight and up and I tried my hand on at least three of them. My greatest accomplishment was Op.90 No.4 in A-flat Major, with those gorgeous cascades rippling down like water with a wonderful melody emerging in the left hand and a passionate Trio I loved playing. But I must admit that the difference between amateur and professional pianists being immeasurable (Somerset Maugham), so this new issue of The Complete Impromptus, all eight of them, under two opus numbers (90 & 142) by a pianist critics regard as an artist of “extraordinary musicianship and rare sensibility,” Puerto Rican-born American Gerardo Teissonnière, is most welcome. In fact, the pianist is having a remarkable career on two continents, recipient of many awards; this recording is his second one on the prestigious Steinway & Sons label.

Some of my favourites are the popular, very impressive No.2 Op.90 in E-flat Major, perpetuum mobile-like, light hearted and fast with an exquisite contrasting Impromptu. No.3, Op.90 in G-flat Major (with 6 flats) is relaxed and introspective with a harp-like mid-register in the right hand that reminds me of Schubert›s ever-present obsession with water and a fearsome undercurrent in the left hand bass.

I loved the most the ambitious Impromptu No.1 Op.90 in C Minor, with its notable key change into major in the Trio that›s absolute heaven, like a dreamy dialogue of questions and answers. No.3 in B-flat Major Op.142 is a set of lovely variations on a simple theme from Rosamunde where the level of invention is amazing. The final piece is No.4 Op.142 in F Minor, a wild rondo that sums up this set that gave me a lot of enjoyment in these bleak winter days.

Listen to 'Schubert: The Complete Impromptus' Now in the Listening Room

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