Together with the Lieder, the works for piano four-hands are a conspicuous part of Schubert’s repertoire, the genre being a field of creativity that met two important requirements for the composer. The first, of practical nature, was the simple one of making a living: four-hand pieces, a light genre that was most popular in Biedermeier Vienna, was in large demand and consequently sought by the editors. The second reason was more personal and intimate, and had to do with Schubert’s pleasure in making ensemble music with a small circle of faithful friends.
The two works that open the programme of this album, the Deux marches caractéristiques D 886, can be considered two large symphonic Scherzi for the piano. Both in the same tonality of C Major, they are quite different from one another: the first is joyful and lively, the second anxious and tense.
The 8 Variations on a French song D 624, were dedicated to Beethoven and were the source of the anecdote - we don’t know how truthful - of Schubert’s disastrous visit to his older colleague. What is certain is that Schubert could hardly have chosen a less appropriate work to dedicate to Beethoven.
The Fantasia in F minor Op. 103 D 940, completed in April 1828 and dedicated to Countess Caroline Esterhazy, to whom Schubert had probably taken a fancy in the summer of 1824, is one of the composer’s finest instrumental works the so-called Lebensstürme (”Storms of Life”) D 947 was composed by Schubert in May 1828. It has been speculated that he may have intended it as the first movement (Allegro ma non troppo) of a Sonata in A minor for piano four-hands of which the Rondo in A major Op 107 D 951 could possibly have been the finale. A page full of energy and enthusiasm.
Chiara Soave and Cecilia Baccolo make up one of the most interesting piano duos of their generation. Having shared their musical experiences from a very early stage, they have built up a vast repertoire that ranges from classical to contemporary music.
The high level achieved through the years has allowed the Soave-Baccolo Duo to study with concert performers and teachers of international renown, such as Rinaldo Rossi, Cristiano Burato, Mauro Minguzzi, Pier Narciso Masi at the prestigious International Piano Academy of Imola, and the famous Tal-Groethuysen Duo at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, Germany.
The Soave-Baccolo Duo has won important national and international awards - among them the Città di Stresa, Rospigliosi of Lamporecchio, AFC Roma 2004, Twenty Fingers Piano Duo International Competition, Gaetano Zinetti of Verona, C. Togni of Brescia, and Kamermuziekconcours of Hellevoetsluis-Rotterdam - and has performed in theatres and festivals throughout Italy and abroad.
The Duo’s Schubert interpretations have always been welcomed enthusiastically by critics and audiences; indeed, in 2010 the Duo was invited to perform a programme entirely dedicated to the great Austrian composer at the Concertgebouw Hall in Amsterdam, the only Italian piano duo to be featured in that renowned hall.