International Piano

I was intrigued to hear these disc because Goldstone’s playing was unfamiliar to me (his concert appearances in the United States would seem to be few to date) and because I had read some fairly glowing reviews of his first Schubert recordings (Divine Art 21202). I immediately turned to his account of the late Sonata in A – for me the greatest of all Schubert’s piano works – and I was totally won over after just a few minutes’ listening. Now, after two re-hearings I can say that I believe it is one of the finest recordings ever made of this work. Like the best Schubertians (Schnabel, Goode, Curzon and Rudolf Serkin), Goldstone responds equally to the Classical and Romantic sides of Schubert, and therefore he is as happy to keep the rhythm strong and steady when the music demands it (as in the opening themes of all four movements) as he is eager to push ahead (as in bars 82ff of the first movement and especially in the terrifying central section of the second movement) or to pull back slightly (especially for second themes).

Throughout Goldstone displays a gripping sense of musical drama and structure, a natural feeling for the rhythmic ebb and flow of a phrase, and a singer’s feeling for the dynamic arch of a melody. In all these respects, as well as his warm tone and his tendency to group fast notes into large impulsive units, I was often reminded of Schnabel’s playing of this work. But Goldstone’s finger technique seems more reliable that Schnabel’s and the equal of any of the above-mentioned Schubertians. This is especially evident in the posthumous sonata in C minor, where Goldstone’s clarity in fast passages is on a par with even Richter’s and Brendel’s – and without any of their musical “ticks” or forced sound. His tempo for the “A” sections of the finale is truly precipitous at dotted crotchet=177 (relaxed only slightly for the “B” and “C” themes).

The disc is rounded off with exceptionally subtle performances of the Moments musicaux (D780), the Drei Klavierstücke (D946), the two Scherzi (D593), the Vlases Nobles (D593), and the Adagio in E (D612). I have not heard a more impressive Schubert piano recording in recent years, including the highly touted ones by Hough, Volodos, and other artists who are much better known than Goldstone.

—Charles Timbrell