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Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Overture in F major, Op. 34, D. 675
Fantasie in F minor, Op. 103, D. 940
German Dance with Two Trios and Two Ländler, D. 618
Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 82/2, D. 968a
Three Marches Héroïques, Op. 27, D. 602
Jeno Jando (piano)
Zsuzsa Kollar (piano)
Rec. Phoenix Studio, Budapest, from 1-4 April, 1998. DDD
Piano Works for Four Hands, Vol. 3
NAXOS 8.554513 [59:23]

This is now the third volume of piano works for four hands in this continuing Schubert series. It is not apparent why it has taken Naxos so long to release these works that were recorded back in 1998.

I understand that the prolific Jeno Jando is now the world’s best selling pianist and he is joined on this Naxos release by compatriot Zsuzsa Kollar who was a former pupil of his at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, in Budapest.

The first work on this release is the Overture in F major, Op. 34, D. 675 which was composed in 1819; the same golden period as the famous Trout Quintet. This often dramatic work is the only one of his four duet overtures that is not a transcription of an orchestral work.

Schubert completed the Fantasie in F minor, Op. 103, D. 940 in 1828, the last year of his life. The work is the final of the four Fantasies for piano that Schubert wrote. It is regarded by some as one of his finest keyboard creations. In four clearly defined contrasting sections, the Fantasie in F minor is certainly remarkable for the wealth of beauty of its melody and passionate drama.

The German Dance with Two Trios and Two Ländler, D. 618 from 1818 are likely to be the fruits of the soirées that Schubert attended at friends’ houses in what became known as ‘Schubert Evenings’ or ‘Schubertiaden’. The work reveals its peasant origins in the vigorous rhythms and melodies.

Thought to have been written somewhere between 1818 and 1824 the Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 82/2, D. 968a were probably intended for the use of a couple of his pupils. The works are light yet rich in variety and invention.

The final and longest works on the release are the Three Marches Héroïques, Op. 27, D. 602 from between 1818 to 1824 and interestingly have had their Schubert authenticity questioned. They follow the usual form and rhythm of the March and contain contrasting Trio sections.

Piano soloists Jeno Jando and Zsuzsa Kollar respond admirably to these works with playing of warmth and intimacy. However the recital never really takes-off for me. It is somewhat lacking in immediacy with inadequate subtlety of phrasing. My attention wasn’t held for the whole recital which I found to be rather disappointing from pianists of the calibre of Jando and Kollar.

With reasonable sound quality this is for me a fairly average release.

Michael Cookson

Terry Barfoot found this recording to be more rewarding

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