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Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, September 2010

Schubert’s piano duets are often unfairly overlooked, but they contain some very fine music. The Grand Duo is on such a large scale that it used to be thought that it was the sketch for the lost seventh symphony...Naxos offer[s] fine performances of the most important pieces in this form...



Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, February 2008

"This CD offers a nice selection of works from one of my favourite composers. Good value for the money."



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2008

During the 19th century the growth of home ownership of pianos was creating an ever increasing demand for sheet music, the added amusement of sharing the piano with a friend not only a social grace but a way of easing difficulties. Many works were adaptations of orchestral scores, but Schubert realised the commercial sense of creating new works kept within the scope of talented amateurs without making that fact too obvious to the listener. In many instances they were also to serve the dual role of works that he could play with his pupils. There were, however, exceptions, the Sonata in C major ,‘Grand Duo’, being in essence a four movement symphony for four hands that not only in personal technique, but equally in terms of marrying the two players together, was a formidable task . It was probably composed in 1824 - four years before his death and published posthumously - and was intended for his students, Karoline and Marie, the daughters of Count Johan Esterhazy von Galanta. The remaining items on the disc - Four Landler, Variations sur un theme original and Six Grand Marches et Trios, came from the same period and were probably composed while in residence at the Count’s home. That Schubert sought publication when he returned to Vienna would suppose that they were conceived as ‘items for sale’ rather than for the sisters. In any event they are charming, but do not offer the challenge of the Sonata. I forget when we had the last issue in this series, but I guess it is three years ago, the cycle now handed over to the UK duo of Allan Schiller and John Humphreys who recently enjoyed much critical acclaim with their Busoni disc for two pianos. Once again it is the clarity of their playing that makes their performances special, the complexities of the Sonata never exaggerated. I also like the way they remember the domestic origins of the work, and avoid the inflated approach we find on many other recordings. The dance-like Scherzo is a special delight, and they resist the temptation to rush through the finale. That domestic feel is equally the character of the excellent recorded sound. Much recommended.






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5:38:24 AM, 23 August 2014
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