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SCHUBERT // 1828

Cédric Pescia, Philippe Cassard,

Schubert’s imaginative world was built from the poetry he set to music throughout his life.


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The pianist Philippe Cassard has always felt close to those Wanderers, those Romantic landscapes studded by stars and moons, traversed by mountains and valleys, those quicksilver moods. To record the Sonata D959 (completed in September 1828), one needs the profound maturity acquired through concert experience. Philippe Cassard has chosen to couple it with the three great pieces for piano four hands composed over the previous nine months, to permit the listener to retrace the chronological trajectory in reverse, from the Sonata back to the Fantasy, and realise that we have here a piano freed from all constraints, orchestral in its power, making use of every resource, cultivating the most extreme contrasts.

Of all possible chamber music combinations, ‘piano four hands’ is the one most complicated to get right: the seating position is unnatural (both players are decentred, the sound is no longer heard stereophonically), only one of the pianists plays the pedals, and the first player’s left hand and the second player’s right constantly get in each other’s way, which sometimes obliges one to adopt acrobatic positions and contortions if one wishes genuinely to play (well) all the written notes. And to ‘play together’ in a natural manner is a true challenge. Paradoxically, it is the configuration of musical friendship par excellence! But between the first run-through and the determination to constitute a truly ‘professional’ duo, there are literally hundreds of hours of practice.

Cédric Pescia is a born Schubertian. He knows how to convey Sehnsucht, that compelling melancholy inseparable from so many of the Viennese composer’s works. He has adopted, in his phrasing, the gait of the walker that traverses Schubert’s landscapes. His sonority is songlike, delicate, yet he is capable of unleashing storms in the most dramatic passages!

This album, gathering together four masterpieces of the year 1828, is a declaration of unbounded love for Schubert.




  •  Piano Sonata no.20 in A major, D959 – Allegro 11’03
  • Piano Sonata no.20 in A major, D959 – Andantino 8’07
  • Piano Sonata no.20 in A major, D959 – Scherzo, allegro vivace 5’29
  • Piano Sonata no.20 in A major, D959 – Rondo, allegretto 12’18
  • Rondo in A major, D951 11’19
  • Allegro in A minor D947, ‘Lebensstürme’ 11’11
  • Fantasy in F minor, D940 18’04


Considered by his colleagues, the critics and the public as one of the most captivating allround musicians of his generation, Philippe Cassard trained with Dominique Merlet and Geneviève Joy-Dutilleux at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he obtained Premiers Prix for Piano and Chamber Music in 1982. He went on to advanced study for two years at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna, and subsequently received guidance from the legendary Nikita Magaloff. He was a finalist at the 1985 Clara Haskil Competition, and won first prize at the Dublin International Piano Competition in 1988.

After this success he was invited to appear with the leading European orchestras (London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Budapest Philharmonic, Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, etc.), playing under the direction of such conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Marek Janowski, Charles Dutoit, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Armin Jordan and Vladimir Fedoseyev. His penchant for chamber music and his passion for the voice have led him to perform with such artists as Christa Ludwig, Natalie Dessay, Angelika Kirchschlager, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Wolfgang Holzmair, Donna Brown, Michel Portal and David Grimal, the Ébène and Modigliani quartets, and the actors Philippe Torreton, Roland Bertin, Judith Magre and Micheline Dax.

Philippe Cassard has published an essay on Schubert (Actes Sud) and a book of interviews about cinema and music, Deux temps trois mouvements (Capricci). He founded the festival Les Estivales de Gerberoy (1997-2003), and was artistic director of Les Nuits Romantiques du Lac du Bourget (1999-2008). Since 2013 he has been responsible for the classical programme of the Festival de Fontdouce (Charente Maritime). He has presented nearly 430 programmes in the radio series Notes du Traducteur on France Musique since 2005; in 2007 the series received
the Prix SCAM for ‘best sound work of 2007’.

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