In the bicentenary year of the composer's birth many Schubertians have been unusually busy playing or promoting all areas of their man's vast output. Still, few can have been more engaged than the pianist Martino Tirimo, who now crowns a quarter of a century of Schubert scholarship and artistry with three major endeavours - the release of his eight-disc set of the Complete Piano Sonatas on EMI; the publication of his personally edited, three-volume collection of those sonatas; and, now, the last three recitals (the final one is on 15 Jun) devoted to that oeuvre at the Wigmore Hall.
There are 21 Schubert piano sonatas all told, which Tirimo has no hesitation in labelling "the greatest cycle of works in the form after Beethoven's". Yet, unlike Beethoven, no one really knew the extent of Schubert's piano sonata legacy until relatively recently. "During his short lifetime, Schubert was known as a lieder composer, full-stop. Then, because his manner of working was often very erratic - he wrote at such speed - publication of the piano sonatas, if it occurred, was delayed, sporadic or incomplete."
But no longer - Tirimo's efforts in Schubertian research and autograph scrutiny have yielded a full set of sonatas, some of which he has also finished, "though basing those completions solely on the existing materials," he adds. And, after so long poring over these pieces, does the pianist still relish performing them in public? "Of course," he says, "I don't think I will ever tire of these sonatas, partly because they are so rich in their diversity, and even the earliest ones, which Schubert penned in his late teens, are as challenging to play as the three massive sonatas of the final year, 1828."
So Schubert fans and scholars should be grateful to Tirimo for his heroic reappropriation of the Schubert sonata canon. Though the self-effacing Schubert expert and exponent is still reluctant to bask in his own glory. "I did the scholarship for Schubert's sake, and I play them for the listener's sake," he says. "Just to be associated with Schubert's genius is enough for me - this man, whose life was so tragically short, yet who gave us so much wonderful music."
Eye readers have the chance to hear Martino Tirimo playing Schubert for half-price. Our special two-for-one offer applies to tickets for all three of his concerts at the Wigmore Hall. Readers calling the box office on 0171-935 2141, mentioning this offer, can get two tickets for the price of one for his recitals on 1, 4 or 15 JuneReuse content