Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano

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COMPOSERS: Franz Schubert
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Schubert: Complete works for violin and piano
WORKS: Complete works for violin and piano
PERFORMER: Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67911-2

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These two young artists have already made fine discs together, including a complete cycle of Beethoven’s Sonatas. Here we get all of Schubert’s works written for violin and piano, in performances which it is hard to imagine ever being bettered. None of Schubert’s compositions for this elusive combination is among his greatest works, though they are never less than amiable. In the case of the three sonatas, marketed by Diabelli as ‘sonatinas’ so that amateurs would buy them to play, we have music which remembers Mozart, whom Schubert worshipped but couldn’t equal. Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien don’t attempt to make them bigger or greater than they are.

The second disc contains works from later in Schubert’s career, and they are mostly experimental. Probably the most celebrated of them is the Fantasy in C major, D934, a late work, written at the same time as Winterreise. It contains passages of high virtuosity, but showing off wasn’t really Schubert’s thing, and when one thinks of the slightly later Fantasy in F minor for piano duet, the gulf between the two fantasies is, well, fantastic. The second disc is rounded off by an arrangement for violin and piano of one of Schubert’s most beloved songs, which he quotes in the Fantasy.

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Michael Tanner