For last year's Volume 1 (DDA25093), Anthony Goldstone's
programme consisted of others' renditions of some of Tchaikovsky's orchestral
and operatic music. Now he is back with a diverting look at the ballets,
featuring transcriptions and paraphrases from musicians all connected
to Tchaikovsky or to each other.
Goldstone is an old hand at this kind of thing: a decade ago he and
his wife Caroline Clemmow recorded some Tchaikovsky duets for Divine
Art, including the premiere of Sergei Taneyev's unforgettable transcription
of the whole of the Fourth Symphony and an extraordinary piano version
of the Marche Slave
(DDA25020). Elsewhere his huge discography
is peppered with bravura works of this Romantic-period ilk.
For this recording Goldstone is Clemmowless, although it sometimes appears
otherwise, given the virtuosic nature of what is after all music for
pianists with a streak of exhibitionism - certainly the case as far
as the two Paraphrases are concerned. As melodist extraordinaire Tchaikovsky's
writing lends itself particularly well to these entertainment-transcriptions,
with the next memorable tune arriving before the music even has time
to think about lulling.
That is nowhere more true than in the marvellous transcription of Sleeping
by Tchaikovsky's pupil and friend Alexander Ziloti, recorded
rather amazingly for the first time. Normally, a forty-nine minute work
for solo piano is asking a lot of listeners, but not here: whether enjoyed
as an endless sequence of captivating melodies and foot-tapping rhythms,
or as a spectacle of breathtaking pianism and exquisite detail from
Goldstone and Ziloti alike, time simply whizzes by.
The same can be said of the disc as a whole. Goldstone's modesty is
disarming, whilst his technique and ear for the poetic phrase and dramatic
flourish are almost second to none. He may be in his late sixties, but
if the years are ever going to catch up with him, they will have to
Goldstone's own booklet notes are in English only, but are detailed,
well written and interesting. The back inlay claims Pabst's highly impressive
Concert Paraphrase as a first recording, but this is presumably a misprint
- there are at least two others, by Earl Wild and Oleg Marshev, the
latter dating back to the 1990s.
Sound quality is excellent. In fact, the only bad thing about this disc
is that it is officially the last one in the series.
Contact at artmusicreviews.co.uk
See also review by Nick