Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828)
The Piano Masterworks Vol.1
Allegretto in C minor, D.915; Four Impromptus, D.935;
Sonata in Bflat, D.960; Sonata in A, D.664;
Fantasie in C, D.760 ("Wonderer"); Sonata in G, D.894

Anthony Goldstone piano (Recorded 1999 & 2000)
THE DIVINE ART 2-1202 –2CDs [77.28] & [73.36]

Divine Art

Anthony Goldstone is one of Britain’s leading pianists and is a sixth-generation pupil of Beethoven who has always felt a special affinity for the music of Schubert. He has recently finished a seven CD cycle of all of Schubert’s four-hand piano works with his wife Caroline Clemmow. Having now been playing for more than fifty years he decided to record his views of Schubert’s great solo works to disc.

This is a field which has been very well served with pianists like Wilhelm Kempff, Alfred Brendel, Clifford Curzon and Mitsuko Uchida, all having made excellent recordings of this repertoire. It says much for Anthony Goldstone that his stands up very well to this competition. Like all very good players he has his own style which is not identical to others. For my taste he has a lot to offer and I believe most would be very happy with these new recordings.

The Allegretto in C minor is a short and relatively less well known work which offers a fascinating mix, so common with Schubert of intensity and tenderness. The second set of four Impromptus, although not quite so well known as the first set is a wonderful set which as played here could almost be a single sonata. Listeners by now will have grasped the main characteristics of Goldstone’s playing. Tempi are slightly on the fast side (probably historically correct) with plenty of dynamic range (but not to extremes). His technique is very good but unlike some pianists you end up by thinking "what wonderful music Schubert has written" not "what a marvellous technique this pianist has". Even in very slow passages he does not use the modern technique of gaining tension by playing so slowly that you wonder when and if the next note will arrive.

The wonderful Sonata D.960, completed two months before he died is probably Schubert’s greatest piano work and receives an appropriately wonderful performance by Goldstone. Incidentally Goldstone has written his own (very good) notes for the set and he gives the very good advice that listeners may well wish to take an interval before the main sonata which concludes each disc.

The second disc starts with the earlier D.664 which with its delightful melodies and fast waltz-like finale shows Schubert at his happiest. The famous "Wanderer" Fantasie (which apparently defeated Schubert the pianist) is given an extraordinarily brilliant performance by Goldstone (who describes the work as a "musical super-organism"). The last work is the D.894 Sonata which is rather special with its mellow cantabile first movement and serene slow movement is a piece which gives great joy to the listener.

Altogether this is an excellent set, well recorded and presented which can be fully recommended.

Arthur Baker

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