Peter Schaaf studied at Juilliard and, as a young professional pianist, accompanied some illustrious soloists, including Jon Vickers and Yo-Yo Ma. Schaaf soon abandoned a musical career to establish a very successful one as a portrait photographer. He returned to the piano a few years ago, self-producing an impressive recording of Albéniz’s complete Iberia (TAS 223). Schaaf’s new project is less ambitious musically but nonetheless quite interesting, a program of 44 waltzes by Schubert, Brahms, Dvořák, and Ravel. Except for Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, which the soloist dispatches with sweep and drive, the rest of the program is modest in its aims. But the music is uniformly delightful; throughout the CD the triple meter never droops, and when syncopations and cross-rhythms do appear, Schaaf is there to savor the moment. The piano sound is a bit close and pingy, but the instrument is presented with good weight and body.

ANDY QUINT, The Absolute Sound
April 2017 (TAS 272)