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Harmonious spirits, happy encounters

April 16, 2006|Chris Pasles

"Evgeny Kissin & James Levine:

The Carnegie Hall Concert"

Schubert: Piano Music for Four Hands (RCA Red Seal)

*** 1/2

KISSIN and Levine get top billing over poor Franz Schubert on this live recording of a 2005 Carnegie Hall performance of piano duets that includes applause and two encores.

Schubert wrote piano duets throughout his compositional life, pouring wondrous, beguiling music into a form intended for intimate music-making and informal listening. The works here, dating from the later 1820s, are among his best: the haunting Fantasie in F minor, D. 940; the tempestuous Allegro in A minor, D. 947, "Lebenssturme"; and the symphonic Sonata in C, D. 812, "Grand Duo." Kissin and Levine are kindred spirits in pursuing the composer's charming highways and byways as well as his poignant, compelling, even noble detours. The encores -- both taken at fiery tempos -- are the "Characteristic" March No. 1 and the Military March No. 1.

Chris Pasles

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