• Franz Schubert

    Lebensstürme. Music for Piano Four-Hands

    Duo Pleyel

    Lebensstürme. Music for Piano Four-Hands 1 cd CKD593
    Linn Records

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Duo Pleyel (Richard Egarr and Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya) makes its recording debut with a programme of works for piano four-hands by Schubert, whose contribution to this genre exceeds that of any other composer. Aside from being hugely enjoyable this repertoire features some of Schubert’s finest piano writing. Schubert’s great F minor Fantasy, although justly famous, represents only a small proportion of his music for piano four-hands. It is an extraordinary body of work which demonstrates the gathering importance of this compositional medium. Duo Pleyel brings this famous Fantasy into context with other lesser known works such as the wonderfully melodic early Sonata in B flat major, written when Schubert was 21, and the two contrasting Rondos: the Rondo in D major D. 608 (post.) and the Rondo in A major (Schubert’s final work for piano four-hands). Perhaps the star composition is the passionate Allegro in A minor, written a month after the Fantasy, and sometimes known by its posthumous title ‘Lebensstürme’. It gives us a clear picture of Schubert’s inner life: of a man who wrote ‘Every night when I go to bed, I hope that I may never wake again, and every morning renews my grief.’