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Daily album review 7: Delicate, compelling Schubert for violin and piano from Tomas Cotik and Tao Lin

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The proliferation of self-produced classical albums means finding gold nuggets is like panning for gold on the muddy banks of some northern river. One of the latest gems to emerge from the season’s flowing waters is a wonderful album of violin and piano music by Franz Schubert.

Argentinean-born violinist Tomas Cotik and Shanghai-born pianist Tao Lin met last fall at their sort-of home base in Florida to record the first album in a wished-for survey of Schubert’s music for the two instruments.

This initial result is impressive for the elegance and sensitivity of the interpretations. These two musicians seem particularly well matched, giving Schubert’s music gentle contours, subtly highlighting the ever-shifting textures in the accompaniment and, most important of all, letting each instrument find its voice and sing.

On this album are three pieces: A Duo Sonata in A major, D.574, which dates from 1817, the year Schubert turned 20. It is a nice four-movement piece that pales a bit next to its two later companions, the B-minor Rondo D.895 and the great C-Major Fantasy, D.934, both completed 10 years later.

The Fantasy, which spins variations on the melody from “Sei mir gegrüst,” a Schubert Lied based on a poem by Friedrich Rückert, is the true treasure here, beautifully executed and polished.

Centaur’s website is useless, so, for more information, check out Cotik’s website here.

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These two wonderful collaborators are trying to raise money for Vol. 2 of their Schubert project on Kickstarter. One month in, they’ve received two pledges totalling $130, a crazy long way from their goal of $12,000.

You can check out the Kickstarter page here, if for no other reason than to learn more about these two artists — and, unfortunately, to see a don’t-try-this example of how even informal Kickstarter requires a great deal of thought and polish and planning to successfully present a project.

John Terauds

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