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Schubert: Piano Works For Four Hands, Vol. 6 / Humphreys, Markham

Schubert / Humphreys / Markham
Release Date: 11/13/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572699   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  John HumphreysRobert Markham
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUBERT Rondo in D, D 608. Sonata in B?, D 617; Six Grand Marches and Trios, D 819 John Humphreys, Robert Markham (pn) NAXOS 8.572699 (67:24)


This is the sixth disc in Naxos’s series of four-hands music by Schubert, but only the second with pianist John Humphreys. The previous volume features Humphreys with Allan Schiller and the earlier Read more volumes different pianists altogether. The surprise to me is that there is so much of this music, which was mostly written for Schubert himself and friends and for occasional students. (An ostensibly complete collection by the pianists


Tal and Groethuysen was recently available on seven discs.) I can’t speak about the other volumes, but this one is a delight. It opens with the Rondo in D, D 608, that has also been recorded by the Duo Crommelynck and by Paul Badura-Skoda and Jörg Demus. I prefer the airy, danceable performance here by Humphreys and Markham. It’s a seemingly innocent work, with a fiery middle section, that was written to be played by the composer with a talented civil servant Josef von Gahy. The Sonata in B? is not exactly a grander affair, at least emotionally. Written for two young women, the daughters of Count Esterházy, it’s an elegant, balanced work, not particularly forward looking, though the slow movement has a beautiful melody that almost marches down the page. It’s a masterpiece of tact, in my estimation, that is supremely musical without straining the possible technical or emotional limits of the women for whom it was written. The marches are longer works than one might expect: with its trio, the sober No. 5 in E?-Minor is over 14 minutes. So they do more than stomp. Schubert is playing with the idea of a march, which can be imposing, whimsical, or as in the case of No. 5 almost tragic. This beautifully played recording is appealing for the musicality of the performers and for its mix of relatively well-known and lesser-known material.


FANFARE: Michael Ullman
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Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Piano 4 hands in B flat major, D 617/Op. 30 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Rondo for Piano 4 hands in D major, D 608/Op. 138 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1818; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Marches (6) for 2 Pianos, D 819/Op. 40: no 6 in E Major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)
4.
Marches (6) for 2 Pianos, D 819/Op. 40: no 5 in Eb minor by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)
5.
Marches (6) for 2 Pianos, D 819/Op. 40: no 4 in D major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Marches (6) for 2 Pianos, D 819/Op. 40: no 1 in E flat major by Franz Schubert
Performer:  John Humphreys (Piano), Robert Markham (Piano)

Sound Samples

Rondo in D major, D. 608
Sonata for Piano 4 Hands in B flat major, Op. 30, D. 617: I. Allegro moderato
Sonata for Piano 4 Hands in B flat major, Op. 30, D. 617: II. Andante con moto
Sonata for Piano 4 Hands in B flat major, Op. 30, D. 617: III. Allegretto
6 Grandes Marches, Op. 40, D. 819: No. 1 in E flat major
6 Grandes Marches, Op. 40, D. 819: No. 4 in D major
6 Grandes Marches, Op. 40, D. 819: No. 5 in E flat minor
6 Grandes Marches, Op. 40, D. 819: No. 6 in E major

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