Thursday, May 10, 2012

Schubert: Complete Works for Violin and Piano Vol. 1

“These three sonatas are all lightweight, but when played with such sweet tone as Julia Fischer brings to them, and such sensitive and responsive pianism as the remarkable young pianist Martin Helmchen commands, the results are delightful.” --BBC Music Magazine

“Helmchen is adept at pinpointing the crucial harmonies… and his touch is unusually sensitive… Fischer similarly manages to combine restraint with warm expression, and the occasional moments where she plays with more abandon - as in her dramatic first entry in D385 and the ebullient Minute of D403 - stand out the more effectively.” --Gramophone

Schubert’s complete works for violin and piano consist of three “sonatinas” Op. 137 Nos. 1-3 (D. 384, 385 and 408), Rondo Brillant D. 895, the Duo D. 574, and the amazing late Fantasia in D major D. 934. Because these do not quite fill two CDs, Volume 2 includes the Fantasia in F minor for piano duet, with Julia Fischer taking the second piano part. She’s obviously a tremendously gifted artist as the performance is an excellent one in every respect, and you’d never guess that one of the players is not a professional pianist.

That said, it’s the violin and piano works that constitute the principal attraction, and I include both discs together because I can’t imagine anyone interested in one not wanting the other as well. The three sonatinas are not, in fact, all that small, especially the latter two, which have four substantial movements apiece. Like everything Schubert wrote they are melodically generous and lovely from beginning to end. The D. 574 is more ambitious still, and by the time we get to the Fantasia we are talking about miracles. These performances are stupendous: perfectly balanced dialogs between two vibrant young personalities, ideally recorded in a warm acoustic space. There’s no need to say more: just get these discs. --David Hurwitz,

MP3 320 · 141 MB

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