SCHUBERT FOUR HAND PIANO MUSIC
Fantasias, Rondos, Variations and Marches




There is a prodigeous quantity of Schubert four hand piano music. The best known are the 3 Marches Militaires (in D major, G major and E-flat major, Op 51, D 733), the Sonata in C major ("Grand Duo", Op. posth. 140, D 812), and, perhaps the most famuous of all, the Fantasy in F minor (Op. 103, D 940). It is with this last named that we will begin our exploration of Schubert four hand piano music.


The Fantasia was composed in the last year of Schubert's life. It is quite a long piece in four connected movements, i Allegro molto moderato ii Largo iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato, similar in structure to Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy. In these works Schubert moves away from the stricter sonata form and anticipates the free form tone poems of the romantic era. It is a magnificent work and one of my very favorites.

Several excellent performances are offered below including lovely interpretations by Gaby and roberto Casadesus, and Emil Gilels and his daughter Elena, one by Sviatoslav Richter and Benjamin Britten, very martial, very beautiful, and a two hand version played by Maria Grinberg. The classic performances by Demus & Badura-Skoda and Eschenbach & Frantz are the most Schubertian and the least "interpreted" of the lot.






Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Gaby & Robert Casadesus
recorded in 1954







Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Sviatoslav Richter & Benjamin Britten
Recorded live in 1965


i Allegro molto moderato






ii Largo






iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace






iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato







Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Murray Perahia Radu & Lupu


i Allegro molto moderato






ii Largo
iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace






iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato







Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Paul Badura-Skoda & Jörg Demus


i Allegro molto moderato
ii Largo






iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace






iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato







Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Christoph Eschenbach & Justus Frantz


i Allegro molto moderato
ii Largo






iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace






iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato







Next are several incomplete performances. The first, by the sisters Labeque, is stunning, certainly unorthodox, and the only one in which both Primo and Secondo parts participate with an unusual equality of interpretative significance. The resultant counterpoint is to die for. The performance by Brendel & Crochet is quite lovely, the detail exquisite.




Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Katia & Marielle Labeque
i Allegro molto moderato







Fantasia in F Minor D 940
Alfred Brendel & Evelyne Crochet
i Allegro molto moderato







Fantasia in F Minor D 940 (arr. for two hands)
Maria Grinberg


i Allegro molto moderato
ii Largo






iii Scherzo. Allegro vivace
iv Finale. Allegro molto moderato







Below we have the Divertimento D 823 for Piano 4 Hands in a wonderful performance by Polonsky & Weiss. However stylistically more traditional than the Labques' playing, this performance is also one in which there seems to be no secundo part in the creation of the whole. And several marches are performed by Evgeny Kissin & James Levine. The Divertissement à la Hongroise is another exciting and non-traditional performance by Nakagawa & Park.




Divertissement sur les Motifs Originaux Française, D 823
Andantino Varié
Anna Polonsky & Orion Weiss







Marches Characteristiques D968b No 1 in C Major
Evgeny Kissin & James Levine
recorded live in 2006







Marches Militaires D733 No 1 in D Major
Evgeny Kissin & James Levine
recorded live in 2006







Allegro op.144 "Lebensstürme"
Lachowska - Wiersocki Piano Duo
Recorded live in 2008


Part I






Part II








Fantasia in G minor D9
Duo Tal & Groethuysen
Recorded live in 2008







2 Trio's & 2 Ländler D618
Duo Tal & Groethuysen







Fantasia in G Major D.1
Duo Tal & Groethuysen


Part I






Part II








March in G Major
Rudolf & Peter Serkin







Overture in G minor D668
Duo Tal & Groethuysen







Divertissement a la Hongroise Op 54 D818 No3
Mizuha Nakagawa & Boneui Park


Part I






Part I




















Here is my new book, a murder mystery with a musical polemic






and the audiobook version



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