This double set is the third and final exploration of Schubert’s masterpieces of piano compositions. Goldstone is a Schubert pianist of exceptional ability, who clearly loves and understands the composer. His notes on the music illuminate it and are of the highest standard.
The first disc opens with Seventeen Ländler, D.366 which illustrates how a trivial dance form in Schubert’s hands is transformed into an art form – he was the first compose to compose waltz melodies in a minor key thus introducing an element of wistfulness to a happy dance form. Goldstone follows this with a magnificent performance of the famous Four Impromptus, D.899. The disc finishes with a performance of the D.845 Sonata which was dedicated to the Archduke Rudolf – this is an early example of the piano sonatas of maturity; this is a felicitous work which even includes a motif in the finale which bears an uncanny resemblance to the famous 24 th Paganini Caprice for violin (yet to be written).
Disc 2 opens with a performance of the quirky Allegretto in C minor, D.900 (completed by Goldstone) – a fascinating novelty. This is followed by Schubert’s Diabelli Variation from the original collection of 50 by different composers. The Schubert offering was, typically, the only variation in the minor mode which gave it a special pathos. The Sonata in C major, D.840 (Reliquie) follows – this is presented here as completed by Goldstone and it is a most unusual work, full of experimental effects which make it one of Schubert’s strangest works. The last piece on the disc is the Sonata in D major, D.850 which is one of Schubert’s happiest works, written whilst on a country holiday. Anthony Goldstone writes “Schubert was surely the greatest miracle in Western music”. Not all will agree, but no one has presented better advocacy as in the beautifully played and presented set of which this is the third and final part. Recommended without reservation.