Rosi Grunschlag / Toni Grunschlag / Paul Angerer

Dussek: Concerto for 2 Pianos; Schumann: Andante & Variations

(CD - Centaur Records #2635)

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Recorded in 1968, this AAD disc of Jan Ladislav Dussek's Concerto in B flat major for two pianos and orchestra and Robert Schumann's Andante and Variations for two pianos, two cellos and horn is not an audiophile's delight, and may be best appreciated by collectors of historic recordings who don't mind inferior sound. Tape hiss, though reduced, is still too noticeable in Dussek's concerto, but much worse are the boosted treble of the two pianos and the buzzy distortion of the woodwinds and strings in the loudest passages. If the faulty reproduction is not enough to distract the listener, then the rather stuffy, old-fashioned interpretations may make connoisseurs of period practice lose patience with this CD. Duo pianists Toni and Rosi Gr√ľnschlag play cleanly enough and fairly precisely in the amiable concerto, but that is perhaps the most that can be said, since it is hard to hear all their pitches below the mid-range. But Paul Angerer and the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper are quite lush and heavy in their accompaniment, which for an early Romantic like Dussek is too much. Schumann's Andante may be more stylistically appropriate, but the dreadfully muffled sound quality obscures most of the pianos' bass notes and makes the horn and cello parts only periodically audible.

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