The British pianist’s two-year Schubert world tour is giving him new insights into the composer.
In February 2011 you began a mammoth two-year world tour devoted to the piano music of Schubert. Do you find it draining to live with a single composer for so long?
To spend two years with Schubert is a privilege really, just an indulgence. I never get tired of it. There’s always something new to see, the more time I spend with the music. And in every different part of the world I go to, audiences react differently, and I learn things about the music from the way they listen .
You’ve recorded and toured all the Beethoven sonatas, which were much admired by Schubert. Do you approach the two composers differently?
Beethoven had this need to resolve problems and to triumph. But Schubert never seems to have this requirement; you end up with more unanswered questions than you started with. He’s more elusive and has very multi-layered messages, which are fascinating but also very difficult to convey.
What is so appealing to you about Schubert’s late piano music in particular?
The scale is one thing; the fact that he can spin...