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Schubert: Fantasie C-Dur, Rondo h-Moll, Sonate A-Dur

Carolin Widmann, violin; Alexander Lonquich, piano.(ECM New Series) 

Schubert: Fantasie C-Dur, Rondo h-Moll, Sonate A-Dur

Schubert: Fantasie C-Dur, Rondo h-Moll, Sonate A-Dur

There is less consistency here than you might expect in the music of Franz Schubert for the violin, and that’s one of this new disc’s greatest virtues—the way the two musicians approach each of the three pieces fresh and on its own.

With lots of sotto voce and, except at the last, an unconventionally introverted attitude in what is usually treated as a display piece for the violin, Carolin Widmann navigates Schubert’s big C major Fantasy as if she were the pianist’s submissive accomplice.

Her surprisingly dark treatment contains one great surprise: in the final movement’s Allegretto leading up the final Presto, Widmann first strokes the music’s last lyrical phrases with uncommon humanity and consolation before finally taking command at the end. 

And while the Fantasy receives the most shocking treatment, there are unexpected and unforgettable moments in all three pieces. The brilliant Scherzo and deliciously rollicking, insinuating Trio of the A Major Sonata, for example, are highlights.

The whole of the Sonata, in fact, proceeds as if Widmann and Lonquich had been overcome by the unalloyed joy of Schubert’s inspiration, finally abandoning themselves to the satisfactions of radiantly Schubertian bliss. 

*This article appeared in Strings June 2012
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