Schubert: Fantasy in C, Op. posth. 159; Rondo in B minor, Op. 70; Violin Sonata in A, Op. posth. 162

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COMPOSERS: Schubert
LABELS: ECM
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert
WORKS: Fantasy in C, Op. posth. 159; Rondo in B minor, Op. 70; Violin Sonata in A, Op. posth. 162
PERFORMER: Carolin Widmann (violin), Alexander Lonquich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: ECM 476 4546

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Music for violin and piano has its peculiar difficulties, chief among which is the sustaining power of the violin as against the rapid decease of any sound played on a piano. On this disc the problem is exacerbated by the piano’s sumptuous tone, while the violinist, Carolin Widmann, cultivates a narrow sound, so there is a conflicting tendency.

Not too much should be made of that, though. These works, though not among Schubert’s greatest, are well worth hearing, and these two artists clearly feel a deep commitment to them. The Fantasy in C major is around 25 minutes long and was written in 1827, the penultimate year of Schubert’s life. It derives much of its material from his lovely song ‘Sei mir gegrüsst’, which perhaps should have been included on this disc.

In the Fantasy we hear Schubert in relaxed mood, compared with the 1817 Sonata in A major, in which he is clearly grappling with form. It’s a pleasant work, though, as is the Rondo from 1826; Widmann and Lonquich are happy to take each piece on its own terms, to mainly winning effect.

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Michael Tanner