Journal Of The Schubert Institute

Among the many unauthorised arrangements of Schubert’s works made after his death in 1828 are several piano duos and, as Anthony Goldstone points out in his notes to this CD, ‘the disc is by way of a sequel’ to the CD albums of solo piano works, and together with Caroline Clemmow, works for piano duet he has already recorded for the Divine Art [and Olympia]. Both Joseph Czerný and the better-known but unrelated Carl Czerný were composers, and incidentally, tutors to Beethoven’s nephew. Joseph was also a publisher and, in 1829, published not only the first edition of Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet for piano and strings, D.667 (1819), but also an arrangement of the work for piano duet. Some admirable musicological detective work on Goldstone’s part resulted in the discovery of a copy of the latter, long out of print, in the Music Department of the Austrian National Library. The arrangement is extremely effective. Although Czerný made some modifications and changes of registration to accommodate the different medium (particularly in the fourth movement), he took care to preserve the character of the original.

The Austrian National Library also supplied a copy of Josef Hüttenbrenner’s arrangement for piano duet of the overture to Rosamunde, D.664 (originally the overture to Die Zauberharfe, and with its musical origins in the Overture in the Italian Style, D.590, for which Schubert himself supplied a four-hand arrangement, D.592). Josef, whose admiration for Schubert is displayed in this fine arrangement, was the brother of Anselm and Heinrich, composer and poet respectively.

Goldstone, who has also made his own completions of the “Reliquie” Sonata, D.840, and the Allegretto in C minor, D.900, for Divine Art “Piano Masterworks” series, has provided a realisation of Schubert’s Polonaise in B flat major, D.618a (1818), for this disc. Schubert left only the melody line up to the middle of bar 20 in the Trio section. Goldstone describes the problems posed as being ‘akin to those of a cryptic crossword’. No doubt Brian Newbould can identify with those sentiments.

The Russian composer and virtuoso pianist Sergei Prokofiev made arrangements of some Schubert waltzes for both piano solo (recorded recently by the young Finnish pianist Antti Siirala) and piano duet [sic – should be two pianos]. The first of the 12 Valses Nobles, D.969, provides a kind of leitmotiv thread through the whole. The admirable playing of both Goldstone and Clemmow, characterised by textural clarity, beautiful voicing and ensemble (and well projected in an excellently balanced digital stereo recording), is particularly well illustrated in the performances of Ede Poldini’s arrangement for two pianos of Schubert’s Impromptu in E flat, D.899/2 (1827), and Hugo Ulrich’s arrangement for piano duet of the Adagio from the String Quintet in C, D.956 (1828). The former has all the makings of a rousing ‘encore piece’ with its addition of the triplets from the main theme as a contrapuntal element in the middle B minor section and its humorous borrowing of a theme from the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy at the beginning of the recapitulation. The latter – in spite of Goldstone’s apologies to those Schubertians who might find a keyboard arrangement of arguably the greatest movement in the composer’s chamber music output ‘sacrilegious’ – provides a most satisfying conclusion to a finely conceived disc.

—Crawford Howie