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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2001
When two great musicians work together, the end product is not usually the sum of the two parts e.g. Richter with Karajan, Horowitz with Beecham. Howver, one could not ask for a better combination of pianists for these two are not only very fine pianists, but exemplary musicians. Neither Perahia nor Lupu have ever claimed to be note-guzzling virtuosos. Rather, they possess that quality that cannot be achieved through hours of practice, which enables them to make the music make sense, as seen through the composers eyes but with their own unique aura stamped upon the music. They are also probably the most idiosycracy-free famous pianists of our time. I had never listened to the Schubert before this CD and it has become one of my favourite pieces. The haunting theme which begins the piece returns at well-chosen spots throughout the piece is one which can stick in your mind for hours (like the Goldberg Variations Aria). I recently heard Richter and Britten play the same piece and quite apart from the 'the first version you hear tends to be the one you like most' effect, Perahia and Lupu were on a different imaginative level altogether. The Mozart for two pianos is equally well done (a live performance) with immaculate ensembleship. As one reviewer has noted, the length of the CD is a drawback, but playing of this quality (of excellent music) more than makes up for it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
These two works form a perfect, contrasting pairing of the two most sublime piano compositions for four hands in existence: the Mozart ineffably sunny yet majestic, in a brilliant D major, the Schubert Fantasia achingly melancholy and beautiful, played by two musicians who are characterised by expressive understatement. In my experience, Lupu has since, in later years, become inclined to give detached, almost indifferent performances which verge on the remote, whereas here he and Perahia play with both strength and delicacy without ever giving in to excessive rubato or cheap, overt emotionalism.

This is a live performance from the Maltings, Snape, but you could listen quite intently without noticing that. The recording is very close, so there is a slightly claustrophobic effect which is more pronounced but not entirely inappropriate to the Schubert and results in any extraneous noise from the audience being excluded. This original issue is undoubtedly short measure; if that troubles you the later, more expensive 2003 reissue comes with an additional twenty minutes of music by Mozart in the form of his K 401 Variations and the K608 Fantasia, but to me that's like slathering caviar with ketchup; these two pieces form a perfect programme and anything else is de trop.

A rank amateur like me cannot be the first person to have noticed the link between the opening theme of Schubert's D 940 - so meltingly reprised at 13' 40" and again right at the close at 18' 22" - and the melody of Barbarina's cavatina which opens Act 4 of "The Marriage of Figaro". Both are in F minor, the key Mozart associated with ironic grief, although of course Schubert mutates it into the major and then a mock-Baroque fugal passage. The Fantasia has a wonderful unity and a sense of stately progress aided by the measured tempi adopted by Perahia and Lupu - slower than most but never dragging, just grand. No wonder that this disc has never been out of the catalogue.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2001
The duo-to-die-for presents a rendition of these two pieces every bit as superb and sensitive as you'd expect. The Mozart slow movement is perhaps a little slow (and slows down as it goes through) for my taste, but hey... The teamwork on display here is fabulous - you can hardly tell, in most places, that there are two artists at work. No room for ego trips here, so typical of the genre - neither has anything to prove, and so neither tries! Buy it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2014
All musicians, household names or not, have the prerogative of playing only for their own pleasure. They take no pledge to penetrate to the very identity of the composer as Andras Schiff does for Decca in the complete Schubert sonatas, or as Karl Engel does in his 6CDs of Mozart's complete solo keyboard works or, again, as the Bronfman ensemble does for both Mozart & Schubert chamber music. All musicians have a choice as to which group to join.

Here Perahia and Lupu jump into the first swimming pool. They are having a wonderful time enjoying their splash and they've no doubt we'll love it as much as they do. And they're right --- the Amazon reviews are not only positive, but rapturous. I demur. I wish the duo had summoned the ESSENCE OF THE COMPOSERS to the concert instead of pleasing themselves first and foremost. That their playing is world class, sensitive, tasteful, accomplished, of a single voice all goes without saying. But for potential buyers who want COMPOSERS to be present and EVEN DOMINANT in the music making, my advice is to hesitate before jumping into this swimming pool built for two.

Total playing time: 42 minutes.
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on 15 December 2014
Schubert...in a wonderfully beautiful way it haunts me...and I just let it to its work. So beautiful
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on 6 May 2015
Wonderful music and beautifully and sensitively played. Very good for improving my mood!
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on 14 May 2015
a superb disc, so glad to have it in my musical collection.
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on 13 May 2015
Excellent
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2010
Two great pianists coming together doesn't always mean a meeting of minds but here the results are heavenly. No need to say more. Buy and listen to some of the most magical playing ever put on disc.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2011
For this record to get anything less than 5 stars, for any reason, is absurd. The playing and musicianship (not exactly the same thing) are as fine as you will ever hear, in anything. The state should give copies of this cd to all children at birth.
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