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CD Review

Franz Schubert

Complete Works for Violin & Piano
Volume 1

  • Duo Sonata in A Major, D. 574 (Op. 162)
  • Rondo in B minor "Rondo brilliant", D. 895 (Op. 70)
  • Fantasy in C Major, D. 934 (Op. 159)
Tomas Cotik, violin
Tao Lin, piano
Centaur CRC3250 59:04
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This is the first of two volumes devoted to Schubert's music for violin and piano. While the three posthumous sonatas that comprise Volume Two are arguably more substantial, the fact remains that the music on this disc is probably more fun. Reviewing the second volume on Centaur CRC3412, I wrote "Fans of Romantic chamber music will doubtless be intrigued by this carefully considered and beautifully recorded disc." Happily, that also applies to the first volume.

The Argentinean Cotik and Chinese-American Lin might make an unlikely team on paper, but they make very fine music together. I appreciate the care that the pair takes to explore the music at hand; the composer of songs is heard everywhere. Rather than simply say "We play violin and piano", the two seem to say "We play Schubert". There is a difference, friends. Especially in the 21-minute Duo Sonata, there is a near perfect blend of the singing quality and drama that the composer demands. Cotik takes center stage, but Lin realizes his importance as an accompanist would do for a singer, providing the strong undercurrent that brings lieder to life.

In the shorter pieces, Cotik and Lin again explore the full range of Schubert's expression. There is a sense of playfulness and joy that wasn't always present in the sonatas, but that's the composer's fault. I don't have any problems with Cotik and Lin's joyful romp through the "Rondo brillant", nor their carefully shaped and gorgeously spun C Major Fantasy. Slight works these may be, but for an exceptional chamber music experience reflecting a true love for little-known music, you needn't look any further.

Copyright © 2015, Brian Wigman