Schubert: Duo Sonata in A, D574; Rondo in B minor, D895; Fantasie in C, D934

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: Nimbus
WORKS: Duo Sonata in A, D574; Rondo in B minor, D895; Fantasie in C, D934
PERFORMER: Thomas Brandis (violin) Bruno Canino (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 5504
Thomas Brandis (one of Karajan’s Berlin Philharmonic concertmasters for 21 years, and now leader of the Brandis Quartet) is joined by Italian pianist Bruno Canino in this fine concoction of Schubertiana for violin and piano. Their account of the A major Duo Sonata of 1817 would melt the heart of the sternest critic. Brandis plays with exquisite restraint, Canino’s deft pianism is an object lesson in compliance. Despite some expressive economies, their performance brings rigour and élan to the final Allegro vivace, and sacrifices none of its charm.

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Schubert returned to the violin and piano genre nine years later, composing the Rondo in B minor (1826) and the Fantasie in C (1827) for Czech virtuoso Josef Slavík. Both are extrovert, technically demanding works, adroitly played by Brandis and Canino, who imbue each with pleasing Biedermeier delicacy, whilst avoiding any hint of unwarranted sentimentality. Listeners wanting more cut-and-thrust might prefer Gidon Kremer and Valery Afanassiev’s identical coupling on DG, but this Nimbus release offers distinguished and compelling readings in estimable recorded sound. Strongly recommended. Michael Jameson