Schubert: Fantasie in F Minor & other piano duets

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Schubert: Fantasie in F Minor & other piano duets

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17th March 2017




72 minutes


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Schubert: Fantasie in F Minor & other piano duets


Fantasie in F minor for piano duet, D940

Four Ländler D814

Marches caractéristiques (2), D886: No. 1

Variations in A flat major on a original theme, D813

March D819 No. 3

Polonaise, Op. 61 No. 1 D824, D minor

Rondo for piano duet in A major, D951

Andreas Staier, Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano Graf by Christopher Clarke)


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"I have composed a big sonata and variations for four hands, and the latter have met with a specially good reception here, but I do not entirely trust Hungarian taste, and I shall leave it to you and to the Viennese to decide their true merit" So wrote Franz Schubert in 1824, evoking the popular 19th-century genre for 4-hands piano that publishers were always pestering him to write for. In his brief life Schubert devoted 32 compositions to this form and the least of these pieces, be it a ländler, polonaise or march, radiates with all of his finesse and sensitivity. Three are incontestable masterpieces, in the same rank as his sonatas or quartets: the Variations D813, the Fantasie D 940 and the Rondo D 951. All three date from the composer’s final years, a period that gave birth to his most accomplished works.

In concert, Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov have played Bach’s 'Well-Tempered Clavier', with Staier at the harpsichord, alongside Shostakovich’s '24 Preludes and Fugues', with Melnikov at the piano. Sharing a keyboard evidently suits them just as well; their unique musical complicity bringing together four hands and two immense talents.

Franz Schubert: Fantasie in F Minor, D. 940, Op. 103

I. Allegro molto moderato

II. Largo

III. Allegro vivace - Con delicatezza

IV. Finale. Tempo primo

Franz Schubert: 4 Ländler, D. 814

4 Ländler, D. 814

Franz Schubert: Marche Caractéristique in C Major, D. 886: I. Allegro Vivace

Marche Caractéristique in C Major, D. 886: I. Allegro Vivace

Franz Schubert: Variations on an Original Theme in A-Flat Major, D. 813, Op. 35: I. Thema. Allegretto

I. Thema. Allegretto

II. Variation I

III. Variation II

IV. Variation III. Un poco piu lento

V. Variation IV. Tempo I

VI. Variation V

VII. Variation VI. Maestoso

VIII. Variation VII. Più lento

IX. Variation VIII. Finale. Allegro moderato

Franz Schubert: 6 Grandes Marches in B Minor, D. 819, Op. 40: III. Allegretto

6 Grandes Marches in B Minor, D. 819, Op. 40: III. Allegretto

Franz Schubert: Polonaise in D Minor, D. 824, No. 1, Op. 61

Polonaise in D Minor, D. 824, No. 1, Op. 61

Franz Schubert: Rondo in A Major, D. 951, Op. 107: Allegretto quasi andantino

Rondo in A Major, D. 951, Op. 107: Allegretto quasi andantino

Sunday Times

9th April 2017

“The Graf-style fortepiano’s clarity brings out the fabulous textural richness of the F minor Fantasy’s third movement and the Rondo in A, illumined by the players’ lovely touches.”

Irish Times

12th April 2017

“No other composer has left as large a legacy of piano duets as Franz Schubert. The excellent team of Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov present some of his greatest works in the medium…the muted soft pedal sounds of Christopher Clarke’s copy of a Graf fortepiano and the percussive effects that surface in the marches are a reminder of how piano makers once strove to extend the potential of their instruments with one-man-band style extras”

The Guardian

27th April 2017


“The sound is more intimate, more spruce; high notes have a pearliness that make the melodies really ping, and whichever pianist is playing the upper part (I’m guessing Staier – something about those flourishes) adds dainty ornaments that make the whole thing feel partly improvised.”

BBC Music Magazine

July 2017


“Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov play all these pieces with admirable poetry and intimacy…this new recording has the advantage of being played on the type of instrument Schubert would have known…[the piano] has in-built percussion effects which they use with glee in the two marches included in their programme”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2017

“Bringing together two of the most individual pianistic brains around, giving them a copy of a Graf fortepiano and putting Schubert in front of them was always going to be interesting...The Allegro vivace [of D940] goes with real oomph, and in their reading as a whole they explore the work's contrasts to vivid effect...A compelling addition to the Schubert duet discography.”

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