Paul Badura-Skoda is still active at 91, and a faithful participant in the series of concerts organized by Hervé Archambeau at Jacquemart-André.
The great Austrian master chose Franz Schubert’s last 2 Sonatas, written in the very last months of the composer’s short life.
Badura-Skoda enjoys giving keys to the audience before playing, and he did so in French, in detail for Sonata D. 959 – playing the different themes and key passages -, and less in detail for Sonata D. 960. If both Sonatas share many aspects, they also differ strongly.
Badura-Skoda explained that D. 959 is very modern (50 years ahead of its time), and he naturally spoke of the Andantino and the sudden outburst in its center which he compared to an eruption or a tsunami, linked to Schubert’s knowledge of his fatal illness. To me, this part is one of the most deeply moving of all classical music (along with a similar section in Mozart’s 8th Sonata K. 310 Andante cantabile con espressione, composed in Paris at the time of his mother’s death). Badura-Skoda later explained that D. 960 is on the other hand a work where Schubert is resigned to his fate.