Barry Douglas’s distinguished Schubert series for Chandos continues with the A-minor Sonata D845, lucidly explored for its rhythmic bite, song and dance aspects, and also its troubled demeanour, especially in the first-movement development and recapitulation, which Douglas tackles with unvarnished urgency and attack, complemented by a slow movement that might initially suggest the composer in isolation although capricious contrasts abound and which require agile fingers, Douglas spontaneous with roulades, then not shirking the Beethovenian sforzandos of the Scherzo, and he brings out the nervous energy of the Finale. Douglas goes on to penetrate the D935 set of Impromptus, including a surprisingly spacious view of the second-placed A-flat (Douglas isn’t normally one for heart-on-sleeve renditions) and he also relishes the diversity of the subsequent B-flat. For a tailpiece the ‘Ave Maria’, transcribed by Liszt very effectively, played sonorously and with feeling. This eighty-two-minute release – enjoying Brian Newbould’s booklet note and Jonathan Cooper’s first-rate recorded sound (November last year) – is on Chandos CHAN 20253.

Barry Douglas – Schubert – Works for Solo Piano, Volume 5 [Chandos]