The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (89): Four-hand as never before

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (89): Four-hand as never before


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2020

The hands hardly matter. It’s the minds that are making music.



  • Daphnis176 says:

    Magnificent music expressed with absolute dignity: deep sorry and nostalgia without self-pity, punctuated by profoundly rich outbursts.

  • E says:

    This is exquisite. Thank you for posting it.

  • debuschubertussy says:

    wow, somebody was in a hurry, never heard it this fast before…

  • Esfir Ross says:

    Too fast and despirited

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Thanks for posting this, Norman!
    I think many people in the US don’t realize what a marvelous performing musician of other composers’ works Britten was.
    Not only as a pianist, but as a conductor as well.

  • M2N2K says:

    Thank you Norman – this is a marvelous performance.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Fantastically beautiful.

    I’d never heard it until the American pianist Nathan Fryer, a friend and passionate admirer of Ignaz fFriedman, played me a record by Gaby and Robert Casadesus that remains my favorite. It’s one of Schubert’ haunting melodies with a touch of the daemonic, and his characteristic altrrnaion of minor and major.

    • Gareth Morrell says:

      I heard Gaby Casadesus play this in partnership with one of her talented pupils, in a private house concert in 1979. Still one of my most memorable experiences (except that I can’t remember the name of the student!).

  • YB Schragadove says:

    Availalbe on Decca 466822, one of several Decca and BBC discs featuring Richter and Britten at Aldeburgh between 1964-1967.

  • Nargit says:

    The best recorded version of this 4-hand piece is by great conductor Gennady Rozhdensvensky and his wife Victoria Postnikova, playing with great power and emotion on old Soviet vinyl.

  • Clarrieu says:

    Back in the days following Britten’s death, I remember Yvonne Lefébure, the great French pianist and pedagogue, speaking on France-Musique on how she was able to teach “Ben” a few valuable things about playing French music – but could not find something he didn’t already know about interpreting Schubert.

  • M2N2K says:

    It seems like some of the commenters offering their “best recorded version” opinions here have never heard the recording of this piece made by Radu Lupu with Murray Perahia when they were both in their performing prime.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Gareth Morrell — You were fortunate indeed to hear Gaby Casadesus and her pupil play Schubert’s Fanasy in an intimate private setting. She lived almost forever, after losing her husband and son in the same yar, I recall a beautiful record of Faure’s “Ballade” for pf. and orchestra, and all three of the Casadesus family playing Mozart’s triple concerto. I learnt recently that she had studied with Cortot,like nearly eeryone else in that time.

    M2&tc, Lupu-Perahia is indeed a fine vrsion, one I like and prize, alonng with several other duettists.

    • clarrieu says:

      I witnessed Gaby Casadesus, aged 93, playing her late husband’s concerto for 3 pianos in Paris. Of course not a single note was missing… She died 98 years old !

      • Edgar Self says:

        They were quite a family of musicians for at least three generations going back to Henri Casadeus,an “early” Early Music practitioner.

        Gaby Casadesus, Rosina Lhevinne, Horszowski, Casals, aand Menachem Pressler were active performers well into their 90s.

  • Distant Prommer says:

    Having recently visited the Red House in Aldeburgh, I have been very much in a Benjamin Britten mindset. One of the guides that showed us around mentioned this very performance. It is wonderful to hear it now.

  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    check out Sv. Richter playing Britten’s wonderful piano concerto – conducted by the composer