Picks and Pans Review: Schubert: the Complete Waltzes for Piano
Waltzes were, more or less, the disco music of the Danube set; the rhythm and ambience often counted for more than melody. But you don't really need a ballroom to enjoy a waltz, and Schubert originally improvised many of these short solo pieces while playing for his convivial crowd at parties in early 19th-century Austria. When listened to as a set (there are three LPs), his waltzes sometimes seem soporific, but there are also a striking number of lovely themes. In any case, Bordoni, a young Italian, uses every dynamic trick in the repertoire to keep things moving. Schubert would probably approve; he was best known for his symphonies but was intensely interested in his smaller works, too. When someone tried to rename Waltz No. 2 of his Original Dances, Op. 9, D. 365, to the Trauerwaltzer (Funeral Waltz), Schubert scoffed. "What blockhead," he asked sensibly, "would compose a funeral waltz?"