Schubert, Schumann: Marches militaries, D733; Divertissement á la hongroise, D818; Rondo in A, D951

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COMPOSERS: Schubert,Schumann
LABELS: Olympia
WORKS: Marches militaries, D733; Divertissement á la hongroise, D818; Rondo in A, D951
PERFORMER: Goldstone and Clemmow (piano duo)
CATALOGUE NO: OCD 673
Schubert is the greatest composer in the history of the piano duet. That he raised its status to the equal of other forms of chamber music was due partly to circumstance: he wrote many fine duets as music teacher to Count Johann Karl Esterházy’s two daughters. But the number of piano duets among Schubert’s earliest compositions and mature large-scale works such as the Grand Duo and Lebensstürme confirm this genre’s central importance in his output.

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Goldstone and Clemmow’s idiomatic sense of style is evident in the abounding verve with which they play the marches and dances on the third volume in their Schubert series. However, despite their expressive refinement, the tempo fluctuations in the A major Rondo sound too precious. Otherwise, this duo give a perceptive account of the motivic threads underlying the constantly changing surface of the divertissement.

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Meanwhile, Beyer and Dagul provide valuable context with their first volume in the Golden Age of the Piano Duet, eloquently displaying the extraordinary variety this still undervalued repertoire has to offer. Beside delightful Biedermeier miniatures by Beethoven and Schubert, listeners can enjoy this team’s felicitous charm in Weber’s Eight Pieces and glittering virtuosity in Hummel’s Rondo agreeable and Czerny’s La rivalité. Nicholas Rast