Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Franz [Vienna] Schubert, Benjamin Britten, Sviatoslav Richter|
Schubert: Piano Duets
Listen to Samples
GOOD NOT GREAT
DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 08/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From such a duo I suspect I was looking for great things on a mid-price label. What I have got is bargain-label-quality recorded sound and good rather than great things from the artists. We are not told who is playing primo and who secondo in any of these 3 live performances. I thought I ought to have been able to recognise Richter, but in honesty I'm not sure, at least yet. The variations may be new to me, and I like the performance without having anything to compare it with. The other two works are among Schubert's greatest, and I have slightly mixed feelings. In the F minor fantasy their tempo for the main refrain is faster than I am used to but it didn't take me long to adapt -- it is after all an allegro albeit heavily qualified. In the scherzo of the Grand Duo I shall find adaptation harder. It is a bit deliberate for ears used to the superb Schwung and impetus of Brendel and Evelyne Crochet. Their speed in the last movement I doubt I shall ever accept -- it's way too fast. This movement manifestly inspired the final allegro non troppo of Brahms's piano quintet, and any sense of rush in either of them sets my teeth on edge.I'm years out of date with the arguments regarding the identification of the lost Gastein symphony. It was once, maybe still is, thought to have been in C major, and Tovey argued that the Grand Duo was it. Tovey's normally reliable judgment was affected by his loyalty to Joachim, who had dressed it up in an excruciatingly dull Schumannesque orchestration. Anyone looking for a perfectly obvious symphony in piano score can find one easily in the so-called Reliquie sonata, which is in C major too. I don't know what the arguments against this are, but if dates and other considerations fit, surely a few genuine scholars must have made the equation before now."
Worthwhile but Uneven Performance, Somewhat Rushed in Places
Joseph Isenbergh | Chicago, Illinois USA | 08/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Schubert's F minor Fantasy is one of the pinnacles of music, utterly transporting in the right four hands.
The F minor Fantasy is also a magnet for great pianists. I own more than 30 recordings of the piece. All provide considerable reward to the listener.
The Richter-Britten recording, however, is not in the top tier. Sometimes live performances are more stirring than studio recordings. That is not so here. The tempi are consistently rapid and the playing sounds rushed in places. It is almost as though, in a piece as long as the F minor Fantasy, Richter and Britten were concerned about the audience's attention span. As a technical matter, too, there are a few rough edges. Richter and Britten are not always perfectly together, and the voices are blurred in places, especially in the fugato of the final section. The sound is a bit ragged as well. Besides a few skips and pops, the bass is often weak in relation to the treble. If Amazon.com accepted half-stars I would give this recording 3 and 1/2.
Elsewhere on Amazon.com I have reviewed the Lupu-Perahia recording of the F minor Fantasy, which towers over Richter-Britten in all respects. Although Lupu-Perahia's tempi are slower than Richter-Britten's, their playing is more propulsive. It has the combination of elasticity and forward motion that jazz afficionados will recognize as "swing." Combine Lupu-Perahia's rhythmic assurance with their supple phrasing and dynamic range, and you have a performance of haunting beauty and depth.
There is another consideration. Amazon.com sells the entire Lupu-Perahia F minor Fantasy (almost 20 minutes of music) as a single mp3 file for 99 cents. Here, Richter-Britten comes as four separate files (which in fact don't mesh perfectly when played in succession). I know of no greater bargain in the entire realm of online commerce than Lupu and Perahia's recording of the F minor Fantasy for 99 cents."