Musical Moments: Schubert & Rachmaninov

Musical Moments: Schubert & Rachmaninov

by Joel Schoenhals


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Musical Moments: Schubert & Rachmaninov

One of the most fascinating aspects of music is that no two performances of a song or a composition are exactly the same, and some performances are unusual and unexpected. Joel Schoenhals' reading of Schubert's six "Moments Musicaux" are an example of something a little more idiosyncratic than typical. Right from the opening of "Moments Musicaux No. 1" Schoenhals' singular approach to timing and articulation are noticeably different to anyone familiar with these popular pieces. He freely changes timing within each phrase to give more dimension to the shape of the phrase, just as his different articulations -- frequently contrasting staccato and legato -- add more character. The notes in the famous "No. 3" aren't as biting as normally heard, whereas in "No. 4" they are shorter than normal. There are moments of very song-like melody, especially in the central sections of "No. 2" and "No. 4." Schoenhals' distinctive interpretation is more suited to the Rachmaninov "Moments Musicaux," which follow the Schubert. Rachmaninov's music by nature gives the pianist more freedom of interpretation, even in the etude-like "Moments Musicaux No. 2" and "No. 4," and Schoenhals can apply strength to his articulation and passion to his emotion. Schoenhals has a graceful touch and makes "No. 1" personal and intimate, even if some find the rubato indulgent. Its use in "No. 3" makes the piece hard to follow musically; the phrases don't quite flow from one to another. However, "No. 4" and "No. 6" are nice and fiery, and "No. 5" is pleasantly dreamy with its Chopin-esque qualities. Schoenhals' approach may not appeal to some -- especially in the Schubert -- but it does show that he has thought about the music in detail and that he has the ability to carefully control his touch in a surprisingly specific way, yet still sound natural and not inappropriately, over-the-top theatrical.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/26/2011
Label: Fleur De Son
UPC: 0856092001933
catalogNumber: 57993


  1. Moments Musicaux (6) for piano, Op. 16
  2. Moments musicaux (6) for piano, D. 780 (Op. 94)

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Musical Moments: Schubert & Rachmaninov 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ted_Wilks More than 1 year ago
This is a very fine CD (on the Fleur de Son label) and all the pieces are played excellently by Joel Schoenhals. One doesn't get to hear these "Musical Moments" very often (except for No. 3 of the Schubert, which, in my generation, we learned in elementary school and which has been arranged for a variety of instrumental combinations). I wonder, in case of the Schubert, why one hears the Impromptus played relatively often and these not so frequently. Perhaps it is because they are somewhat more introspective. The "Musical Moments" of Rachmaninoff are very interestinand some of them remind me a little of the late piano pieces of Brahms, which is surprising in that they are relatively early works. This CD is a worthwhile addition to one's collection. Ted Wilks