Franz Schubert composed feverishly in the months before illness ended his life in 1828, completing some of his most sophisticated piano works, says education professor Christine Vanderkooy.
Her new album, Schubert: Late Piano Works, comprises two of them: Sonata in C-minor, D. 958, and Drei Klavierstücke, D. 946. She recorded them on the nine-foot Steinway instrument in the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto during the COVID-19 lockdown in December 2020.
Vanderkooy says what she loves most about Schubert is the sense that all of life’s riches — the joys, sorrows, effervescence, complexity, loss, and triumph — appear in full technicolour, reaching us wherever we are at.
“One person’s listening experience may proffer something very different from another’s, and that’s the joy of music: the opportunity to be teleported to a soul level, even just for a moment.”
The recording was supported by research grants from the University of Windsor, the Faculty of Education, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
“I am very grateful that funding enabled all aspects of this project to be produced at the highest level,” Vanderkooy says. “This quality creates the opportunity for the recording to take the national stage, attracting radio play, critical review, and Juno award eligibility, all of which helps to reach a wide audience.”
That audience, and the chance to move them, is what makes the work worthwhile, she says.
“I hope that listeners might find a moment to put aside life’s distractions, even for a short time, and to listen, allowing for the possibility that Schubert might transport them somewhere new,” Vanderkooy says. “The act of listening may open the opportunity to be impacted by the lush emotional landscape that Schubert welcomes us into.”