- Fantasia for piano in C major ("Wanderer"), D. 760 (Op. 15)
- Fantasie for violin & piano in C major, Op posth159/D 934
Bringing these two fantasies by Schubert together on a single recording is a truly inspired idea. Both in the key of C major, which elicited Schubert's most stirring, epic music, these works -- one for piano solo (the "Wanderer"), the other for violin and piano -- bubble over with sublime tunefulness. They also share a basis in melodies from Schubert's own songs, which are woven through a free sonata form. These gems have rarely, if ever, been paired on the same disc, possibly because very few pianists could do justice to both: The "Wanderer" Fantasy requires solo virtuosity, while the Fantasy for Violin and Piano demands the flexibility of a sensitive team player. Having received Grammy awards for both his solo and collaborative work, the marvelous Hungarian pianist András Schiff is just such a rarity. Here, he delivers jaw-dropping performances of both of this blissfully lyrical composer's fantasies. The "Wanderer" Fantasy has scared off many a musician, but Schiff possesses the kind of otherworldly technique that makes you wonder how he does what he does. Schiff's expert study of the counterpoint of J. S. Bach has prepared him well for the fiendisly difficult climactic fugue of the "Wanderer," which he renders with dazzling bravado, as though it were a passionately intelligent improvisation. Schiff brings the same sense of discovery to the Fantasy for Violin and Piano, where he has an ideal partner in the subtly expressive violinist Yuuko Shiokawa, who happens also to be his wife. Their delicately modulated performance allows the grand and tremulous opening of this Fantasy -- one of the most beautiful beginnings in all of music -- to unfold in gentle, rapturous waves.