Recorded live by the BBC in the QEH in 2008 and 2009, two generously filled discs showcase some of the best Schubert playing you’re likely to hear anywhere. A pair of desert island discs, full of electricity pathos and profoundity, with all the intensity and none of the drawbacks of live performance.
Graham Rickson, theartsdesk.com, April 2010
The sound she so carefully makes is a glorious companion throughout, casting radiance on the first two Moments Musicaux, the spellbinding last of the four impromptus, and even a rare moment of transcendence in the otherwise straightforward if well sprung German Dances…she rallies in an even more thoughtful and, when needed, withdrawn Andante, a heavenly dream of a scherzo, and a perfect touch to conclude a slightly well behaved finale.
David Nice, BBC Music Magazine ‘Instrumental Choice’, February 2010
One thing Cooper can do is make the piano sing, whether it be the lovely third subject of the G major’s second movement floated over rippling 32nd notes, the molto expressivo dolente in the final Allegretto or the lullaby opening of the second (A flat) Moment musical. Colours are gracefully shaded, dynamics are artfully controlled and contained; there are no intrusive idiosyncrasies to detract from the enchantment…above all, there is throughout a serenity and poise to the playing which is pure balm for the soul.
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, January 2010
Every note amply justifies Cooper’s Schubertian credentials. She maintains perfect balance between intellect and emotion…Her tempos are beautifully judged, as is the voicing of the inner or supporting parts. The same poetic intelligence, control and feeling of immediacy characterizes the shorter pieces. Outstanding.
Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, 22 November 2009
Cooper is wholly authoritative, with a clear sense of thematic structure and of tonal architecture, and these are combined with melodic playing of the utmost refinement and breathtaking variety of tone…this is Schubert playing of the highest calibre, all the more so for being captured live, the excitement of the event being entirely palpable.
Nicholas Salwey, International Record Review, December 2009.
Imogen Cooper is a natural Schubert player. She came to the composer through a love for his songs (accompanying a number of great Schubert singers), and it shows in how she makes the piano sing in these bittersweet sonatas and short pieces, largely from late in the composer's career. "I remain convinced," Cooper says, "that Schubert's love for the voice -- the instrument inside the body -- and for poetry, have affected all of his great music, not the least the big piano works from 1823-28." Cooper never overplays the music, making what could be thought of as routine passages in Schubert's expansive G major sonata sound fresh.
Tom Huizenga, All Things Considered, National Public Radio
Imogen Cooper's live Schubert takes its deserved place alongside the greats... astonishing achievement... Volume 1 makes one long for Volume 2.
One of the interpretive elite, and on this new issue she reinforces her standing as one of the finest Schubertians in the world.
International Record Review