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A Superb Performance

Music by Schubert
and his circle
reviewed by

Toccata Classics    TOCC 0065

Schubert and his Circle. Todd Crow, piano. © 2007 Toccata Classics

Schubert's hectic short life and overflowing creative imagination inevitably resulted in much being left unfinished, and it is Professor Brian Newbould who has been consistently committed to the completion of so much that Schubert was unable -- or even perhaps unwilling -- to bring to a final state.

The huge Sonata in C, which eventually (in 1861) came into the hands of Leipzig publisher Friedrich Whistling and who probably named it 'Reliquie', presented several challenges, not least of which was the structuring of the finale. The first two movements were complete, and Schubert left enough fragments of two further movements to make reconstruction an achievable exercise. Balancing the Allegro finale, which obviously overrides its original 'Rondo' subtitle, with the substantial fifteen-minute first movement, required care, both in the interests of keeping as much Schubert as possible, and yet inventing enough to maintain this balance. Professor Newbould achieves this remarkably well (as indeed his many years of devotion to Schubert lead us to expect) and this is especially evident in the closing pages of that Finale [listen -- track 4, 9:21-10:34]. The whole sonata is given a superb performance in this first recording by Santa Barbara born pianist Todd Crow, to whom Newbould dedicated his rescued work.

It was the two Hüttenbrenner brothers, close friends of Schubert, who harboured great quantities of his manuscripts for about forty years after his death, and who strangely did not seem to realise their value. But Schubert clearly valued their friendship, admired the compositional talent of Anselm the older brother, and wrote a set of thirteen Variations (D 576) on a theme not unlike 'Death and the Maiden' from one of his string quartets -- included on this CD.

Also recorded here for the first time is a Piano Sonata Op 16 by Anselm -- a lively work with an appealing Adagio and an exciting persistent Allegro Finale [listen -- track 8, 3:00-4:03]. Josef Hüttenbrenner's Tanz der Furien is also is also included -- a piece that makes a fine 'encore' to Crow's excellent recital [listen -- track 10, 0:46-1:07].

Copyright © 12 January 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Schubert and his Circle

TOCC 0065 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 79'16" 2007 Toccata Classics

Todd Crow, piano

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) (completed by Brian Newbould): Piano Sonata in C, D840 'Reliquie' (Moderato; Andante; Menuetto: Allegretto; Rondo: Allegro); Schubert: Thirteen Variations on a Theme of Anselm Hüttenbrenner, D576; Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1794-1868): Piano Sonata in E, Op 16 (Allegro moderato; Adagio; Allegro assai); Schubert: Deutscher in C sharp minor, D643; Josef Hüttenbrenner (1796-1882): Tanz der Furien



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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews