D960 for a desert island?

Sometimes, in an idle moment, I jot down — be honest, don’t we all? — a list of the eight discs I would select as my Desert Island Discs. Impossibly difficult of course! But one constant choice is the last Schubert piano sonata, D960 (and if I had to save one of the eight from the waves, then this would probably be it). But which recording? …. Well, that’s almost impossible too.

I’ve for a while had Schnabel, Brendel (1972, 1988, 2000), Richter (three recordings of his too — extraordinary, Schubert stretched to the limit), Imogen Cooper (underrated, but very fine), Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, Perahia, and Kovacevich. Surely I had Kempff too but that seems to have gone walkabout. And very recently I bought the recording by Paul Lewis, which has received much praise. Yes, I agree! — I really should kick this buying habit. But the prospect of another possible great performance was irresistible. Still, Lewis doesn’t quite work ideally for me: I’ll listen more — but it isn’t the one for the desert island. I still think that that has to be one of the Brendel recordings: after listening to others, I always listen to him again with a sense of coming home. Perhaps I love his 1988 recording the most.

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