Schubert: Fantasie in F Minor, etc CD review – Staier and Melnikov create a warm, intimate vibe

Staier/Melnikov
(Harmonia Mundi)

Alexander Melnikov
Alexander Melnikov. Photograph: Marco Borggreve/Harmonia Mundi

Schubert played piano duets in living rooms, with friends, for friends. To me, it feels a bit weird seeing these pieces on big stages under concert lights, so I love a recording that takes them back to a living-room vibe. Andreas Staier and Alexander Melnikov play a nut-warm, sweet-voiced fortepiano modelled after the kind of instrument Schubert would have known (for the cognoscenti: it’s a Graf copy by Christopher Clarke).

They open with the magnum opus of duet repertoire, the F Minor Fantasie, D940, but it’s not the moody, broody thing it tends to be on modern Steinways. The sound is more intimate, more spruce; high notes have a pearliness that make the melodies really ping, and whichever pianist is playing the upper part (I’m guessing Staier – something about those flourishes) adds dainty ornaments that make the whole thing feel partly improvised.

The disc also includes bits and bobs including the gracious Rondo, D951, the Variations, D813 and the Six Grand Marches, D819.

Contributor

Kate Molleson

The GuardianTramp

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