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Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow: Franz Schubert: Complete Piano Duets


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This came out a while back. It’s a lovely thing to have, as an object: a nice box, with seven CDs and a thick booklet. That’s before you hear a note. Short of an essay, how can you review it fairly? Worse, Anthony Goldstone died last January, while Divine Art was finalising the design work, and did not live to see the re-issue of this collection, repackaged and remastered as a box set.

So, we sat on it until now: if the aim is to get the music out, one last collection from a fantastic pianist, then Christmas is the time. Never mind the quality, feel the width as Manny Cohen used to say. Seven CDs, in a nice box, got a bit weight to it, ideal Christmas present, only £30.

The seven discs were originally released as individual albums between 1999 and 2000 (discs 1-3 recorded in 1998; 4-7 in 1999).

Husband and wife Goldstone and Clemmow set out to record all of the known pieces written by Schubert for piano four-hands.

The sleeve notes say Schubert was the composer par excellence of piano duets. From the age of 13 up to his early death at the age of 31, he composed prolifically for the medium.

The CDs have been carefully planned as separate programmes so that, for example, a published set of six marches is not played one after the other, just because that was how they were published. Each CD presents a varied selection of major and minor works from different periods.

The playing is superb throughout, reflecting whatever mood the music intends to make; there’s nothing really to say about that side.

If you’re looking for a present for someone who likes the piano, or more reflective classical music, you can’t go wrong with this. If not, treat yourself: if you’ve ever thought you’d like some cultured music but don’t know where to start, this is it. It’s the kind of music the makers of Inspector Morse would play if they wanted to portray a character as refined; Morse walks into a room and this is playing, it would set the scene well.

It was recorded in St John the Baptist Church, Alkborough, North Lincolnshire, using a Grotrian-Steinweg piano. The Ida Carroll Trust and Manchester Musical Heritage Trust supported the project.

Out on Divine Art, DDA 25125.

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