In nearly every respect this is outstanding. The Rondo brillant and the Fantasie, both written for the virtuoso duo of Karl von Bocklet and Josef Slawik, can sound as if Schubert were striving for a brilliant, flashy style, foreign to his nature. Both are in places uncomfortable to play (when first published, the Fantasie’s violin part was simplified), but you would never guess this from Faust’s and Melnikov’s performance; they both nonchalantly toss off any problem passages as though child’s play. The Fantasie’s finale and the Rondo brillant are irresistibly lively and spirited, and this duo’s technical finesse extends to more poetic episodes – Melnikov’s tremolo at the start of the Fantasie shimmers delicately, while the filigree passagework in the last of the variations that form the Fantasie’s centrepiece have a delightful poise and sense of ease.
Franz Schubert´s “Winterreise” engages with its audience in a new and unexpected form: in a creative encounter with Schubert’s masterpiece.
Pianists Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire are stupendous virtuosos, and there's nothing in this recording of their 2009 Salzburg recital of staggeringly difficult works they cannot play. They know each other so well as old duo piano partners that their playing is stunning in its unity, but their distinctive individuality also comes across. What's most impressive about this recital is how completely Argerich and Freire have made this music their own. Brahms' Haydn Variations sound freer and fresher, more playful, and more profound than ever. Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances are thrillingly rhapsodic, rapturous, and dramatic. Schubert's Grand Rondeau is more lyrical, intimate, and graceful than usual, and Ravel's La Valse more ecstatic and apocalyptically over-the-top frightening than in any comparable recordings, including Argerich's own earlier releases. Captured in wonderfully clear yet wholly present digital sound, the performances on this disc will be compulsory listening for anyone who loves music, any music.
SCHUBERT: SONGS WITHOUT WORDS is an elegant recital by pianist Daria Hovora and cellist Mischa Maisky that allows us to hear Schubert songs, beautifully rich as they are with the texts as sung by many of our finest singers, here solely for the instrumental line. Somehow the interplay between melody and accompaniment (always an equal partnership in Schubert's hands) is heightened by this experience. Not that the entire album is appropriated by the cello standing in for a vocalist: the opening work is "Sonata for Arpeggione and Klavier" and is one of the highlights of the CD. But just listen to the performances of 'Standchen', 'An die Musik' and 'Du bist die Ruhe' and hear the extraordinary marriage between the piano and cello, singing as beautifully as any other version. This is one of those CDs that bears keeping out for multiple listenings in the late evening.
George Szell's Philips Concertgebouw legacy includes some distinguished recordings, with the scintillating Midsummer Night's Dream suite taking pride of place. Few if any rivals can match the ''Scherzo'' (not even Szell's later Cleveland recording is as buoyant or precise), while the Overture is extraordinarily well drilled and the ''Nocturne'', although cool, has a genuine sense of repose. The Schubert Rosamunde excerpts display all the drive and textural clarity that Szell habitually brought to, say, the Great C major Symphony…
2007 release of a mammoth box set of 50 CD's with key recordings from the Angel/EMI Music classical catalog. Performers include Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Quatuor Hongrois, Heutling Quartet, Erich Leinsdorf, Jean-Philippe Collard & Augustin Dumay & Frdric Lodon, Christian Zacharias, Paolo Bordoni, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Geoffrey Parsons, Lucia Popp, Barbara Hendricks, Radu Lupu and many more.
Despite his premature death at age 35, Fritz Wunderlich was one of the great lyric tenors of the century, equally at home with Mozart's Magic Flute and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Why, then, does Schubert's great song cycle about disappointed love so often elude him? Though he brings his usual vocal splendor and gratifying lyricism to the music in ways that few tenors can dream of, both Wunderlich and his accompanist have a strangely club-footed sense of rhythm. What should often be an intimate expression is extroverted and even labored. – David Patrick Stearns
Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' Quartet is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD and HD video to download. The concert includes the early quartets in D Major D74 and B-flat Major D68 as well as the monumental 'Death and the Maiden' D810, and it's the first release of the Cuarteto Casals' five disc set of live performances of the complete quartets of Franz Schubert…
Is there a better trio than the Florestan playing today? All three members are consummate artists, outstanding instrumentalists, and ensemble players to the manner born, but it’s the playing of pianist Susan Tomes that carries these performances to their greatest heights. Since the ensemble is perfectly judged by all concerned, it may seem unjust to single out the playing of one member for special comment, but such is the extreme sophistication, the extraordinary subtlety and the expressive range of this artist that I can see no alternative. The tonal control, the exquisite shaping of phrases, the rhythmical suppleness and structural backbone are of an order seldom encountered in the playing even of many famous soloists. But what renders her playing here still more remarkable is the exemplary precision with which it’s matched to the different sonorities and qualities of attack, so-called, of the string players. And what players they are. For all of the above this is not a pianist-dominated performance, except insofar as Schubert wrote the piece that way.