Album: Schumann, Sonatas for Piano & Violin – Sepec / Staier (Harmonia Mundi)

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Three things link this recording to Andreas Staier's Hommage à Bach.

The first is Schumann's awed arrangement of Bach's D minor Chaconne; the second, the enigmatic timbres of the 1837 Erard piano; the third, the limpidity of the phrasing.

Though Daniel Sepec's tone tends to astringency, his bowing is beautifully fluid, especially in the Second Grand Sonata. As accompanist and soloist, Staier is spellbinding. In works that seem about to topple over with ideas, fantasy is rooted in the most assured craftsmanship.