Christoph Eschenbach / Justus Frantz

Schubert: Music for Piano Duet, Vol. 1

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For the most part, Schubert's music for piano duet is music meant to entertain. Perhaps he wrote it to entertain his dancing friends as in his Deutsche Tänze or maybe he wrote it only to entertain only the two players seated next to each other at the keyboard as in his many Marches militaries, Marches funèbre, Marches héroïque, and Marches caractéristiques. But those who look for the inward, the lyrical, and the sensitive in Schubert will not often find him in his marches. In this first volume of Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz's early digital recordings of Schubert's piano duet music, there are lots of instantly memorable tunes, lots of infectious rhythms, lots of sound, and lots and lots of fury, and if there's not lots of soulful depth, well, the music here doesn't really call for it. Eschenbach and Frantz were both strong pianists with successful solo careers when they recorded these performances, and they seem to be enjoying themselves immensely with its pomps and circumstances. But while their enjoyment is quite irresistible, few may care to sit through an hour's worth of Grandes Marches et Trios, although judicious listening to one or two will certainly liven up an otherwise too serious Schubertiad. EMI's late stereo sound is rich, full, deep, and warm.

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