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Schubert: Piano Music Four Hands Vol 1 / Tal & Groethuysen


Release Date: 06/14/1994 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 58955   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Yaara TalAndreas Groethuysen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Strong and compelling performances with plenty of momentum, yet bringing out the 'smiles through tears' aspect of the more lyrical music.

The alternative (ultimately) complete account of Schubert's keyboard duets is that by Isabel Beyer and Harvey Dagul for Four Hands Music; JM-C reviewed their first volume some time ago (10/89) and the next two issues came my way more recently (7/93 and 6/94). JM-C found ''taste and musicality'' in their performances, although he queried some vigorous attack, while I was even more enthusiastic, referring to ''perceptive refinement'' and ''splendid unanimity''. The first thing one notices about this new issue is the very clear and firm sound; Tal and Groethuysen explain that they have
Read more used a Fazioli Model 308 piano and thank their recording team for its ''exceptional abilities''. Indeed, an impressive sound comes from this big instrument, which the artists consider necessary to re-create the ''symphonic ambitions'' and ''extremes'' of the music, although it is unlike anything Schubert could have heard, and they play with a fine tonal and dynamic range which allows intimacy as well as power. The treble is bright yet not glaring, as we hear in the closing page of the Overture. The recording is fairly reverberant but produces a satisfying aural picture.

The performances are strong and compelling, with plenty of momentum, yet flexible enough to avoid the slightly military effect that Beyer and Dagul occasionally impart. I like the simplicity that Tal and Groethuysen bring to the little theme of the Herold Variations, and indeed the whole piece is less clouded than we might anticipate in view of its late date of 1827, having Schwung and playfulness. This performance presents a very Viennese side of the composer that the music warrants. The Rondo also has a winning galanterie, and the players know that Allegretto here applies to style as well as tempo. Indeed, they do full justice to these two pieces and others like them. Incidentally, the Six Polonaises are not otherwise currently available on disc.

The Fantasie is Schubert's best-known keyboard duet and, of course, inhabits a more private world in which despair features strongly. I wondered what Tal and Groethuysen would do with this great work and was not disappointed. Their basic tempo is a genuine Allegro molto moderato, and they know how to make transitions from one mood to the next, as when approaching the doom-laden F sharp minor section at 4'55''. Furthermore, they rightly bring out the 'smiles through tears' aspect of the more lyrical music, do not hurry the scherzo (which is consequently all the stronger) and shape the fugue finely. In other words, they are very impressive, and as I listened to their performance I was reminded of the one by Louis Lortie and Helene Mercier which I reviewed last year, and called magisterial. Strongly recommended

-- Christopher Headington, Gramophone [9/1994]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Overture for Piano 4 hands in F major, D 675/Op. 34 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Yaara Tal (Piano), Andreas Groethuysen (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1819; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 40 Secs. 
2.
Variations (8) on a theme from Hérold's "Marie", D 908/Op. 82 no 1 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1827; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Rondo for Piano 4 hands in D major, D 608/Op. 138 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 48 Secs. 
4.
Heroic Marches (3) for Piano 4 hands, D 602/Op. 27 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1818; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
5.
Fantasy for Piano 4 hands in F minor, D 940/Op. 103 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 19 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6.
Introduction, Variations (4) and Finale for Piano 4 hands in B flat major, D 968a/Op. 82 no 2 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 10 Minutes 6 Secs. 
7.
Divertimento for Piano 4 hands in G minor, D 818/Op. 54 "à l'hongroise" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 
Length: 30 Minutes 20 Secs. 
8.
Polonaises (6) for Piano 4 hands, D 824/Op 61 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Andreas Groethuysen (Piano), Yaara Tal (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tal & Groethuysen Duo
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1993 
Venue:  Schloss Grafenegg, Reitschule, Austria 

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