Symphony No.5 in Bb major D.485 (1) Franz Schubert Download 'Symphony No.5 in Bb major D.485 (1)' on iTunes
Two pianist bring Schubert's intimate piano duets and sonatas to the concert hall with marvellous results
Artists: Maria João Pires, Ricardo Castro (piano)
Label: DG 477 5233
The piano duet is an intimate, personal format, best suited to lamp-lit living rooms – which is exactly why Schubert, so often the loneliest of composers, responded so exquisitely to the medium. Yet most of his masterpieces for the genre are hardly ever heard in a concert hall, which makes this beautiful collection all the more welcome.
Each pianist also performs a solo sonata – Pires gives a warm and touching account of the ‘little’ A major, D664, while Castro enters the darker, isolated world of the A minor, D784, in a performance so empathetic with the work’s spirit that one wonders why we don’t hear more of this former Leeds Competition winner. The duets – the astonishing F minor Fantasie, the Rondo in A and the massive one-movement Allegro known as Lebensstürme (‘the storm of life’) – are unfailingly lyrical and compelling, the touch soft and gleaming, the phrasing sparing no detail; and the pair seem excellently matched. The booklet notes, exploring the title on the album cover – Résonance de l’Originaire, ‘the resonance of origins’ – chew through philosophical and psychoanalytical concepts about twinship, the completion of one soul by another, and so forth. Whether or not such ideas float your boat, this is a marvellous recording.<br></br>
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