Friday 27 January
Start time: 06:45 pm

The Schubert sonatas I - James Lisney

The Schubert Series - the first of 4 concerts

27 January, 6 March, 5 May, 17 November


Friday 27 January, 7:30pm end time 9:15pm

Pre-concert talk 6:45-7:15pm


Tickets: £30, £25, £10, £5 for students and under 18s. 

Discount of 20%, centre tickets only, for all 4 concerts in the Schubert Series.

parking: £6

Season ticket for all of the SJE International Piano Series (14 concerts) at 50% reduction £195-£100 depending on seating area.

Available from:


The Oxford Playhouse, tel: 01865 305305 



Sonata in A minor, D 537

Sonata in A, D 664

Sonata in A, D 959


Over the past three decades, the British pianist James Lisney has consolidated his position as a distinguished advocate of Schubert’s music. Recordings for Pickwick, Olympia and Woodhouse Editions have been supported by the innovative Schubertreise series at London’s South Bank: a major undertaking of twenty one concerts that was followed by similar series at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall. In 2017/2018 he will be performing the Schubert sonata cycle in Belgium, the Netherlands and India. 


“Over many years of performing this music”, comments Lisney, “it has become clear to me that miniatures, fragments and variations are as worthy of inclusion in Schubert series as the established complete sonatas. The cycle at SJE presents the final versions of all the sonatas that Schubert completed; it is a matter of regret that so much fascinating music has to be excluded. I have made only one exception to this self-imposed restriction by selecting the fragmentary Sonata in E, D 157 for the concert on May 5th; apart from the fresh charm it provides, as Schubert’s first surviving piano sonata project, contrast with the final Sonata in B flat, D 960”.


I’ve nothing but praise for James Lisney`s piano playing; he combines velvet touch and wide range of colour with complete understanding of phrasing and dynamic shading. This is someone who can really give the mechanical box of wires and wood a singing soul` The Telegraph (Schubert on Carlton Classics)

Maybe it's my own bad luck, but every live performance I had heard of the opening movement of Schubert's B flat Piano Sonata, including a few by major luminaries of the instrument, found me scrambling for the No-Doz tablets well before the development section – that is, up until now. Lisney pays heed to the first movement's tempo marking (Molto moderato, as opposed to the soporific ‘Andante de facto’ too many players attempt), and the welcome, Lied-like declamation he brought to the work's main theme and rich palette of sonorities, particularly those he employed for the chameleonic accompanying figures, illuminated every corner of Schubert's grandest movement for piano. The less-ponderous tempo also struck a satisfying balance with the succeeding movements rather than overshadowing them as too often happens. The second was taken at an Andante that brought both momentum and understated drama to the music, the melodies unfolding in long, eloquent phrases. The scherzo was played con delicatezza – but also with moments of spirited piquancy, and the finale carried plenty of merriment – and more than a few hints of things to come in Schumann and Brahms.

Classical Source - James Lisney at Carnegie Hall


 The English pianist James Lisney, a guest of the Bucharest Filharmonic, offered a Schubert programme .... if we were able to rediscover Schubert`s music in all its diversity and nuances it is to the credit of the pianist, who proved to be an extraordinarily sensitive interpreter of this music. With a technique perfectly adapted to the Schubertian style and a remarkably varied sound, springing from a unique sensitivity, James Lisney succeeded in holding the attention of the audience throughout, not allowing a moments escape into other thoughts, attracting them with permanent internal movement and intense artistic feelings ... a truly original musical personality.  Actualitatea Muzicala, Bucharest




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