International Record Review

Having recently finished recording Schubert’s complete four-hand works with his wife Caroline Clemmow, Anthony Goldstone has turned to the works for a single pianist – and whether you appreciate the results will depend on whether you believe that the rough-and-tumble style demanded by the duets illuminates the more intricate and sophisticated solo output as well. Those whose ideal of Schubert interpretation is Richard Good’s eventful account of the C minor Sonata will probably bridle at Goldstone’s plain-spun tone, his square phrasing (there’s little sweetness in the second theme of the first movement) and his refusal to let the composer’s harmonic ingenuity bloom (nothing much seems to be happening in the beginning of the Adagio). Nor, in the A major Sonata, will those who admire Brendel’s (much less Pollini’s) sense of architecture find similar acuity here; key points of arrival (for example, the recapitulation in the first movement) are apt to pass by unmarked. And even listeners who prize Sofronitsky’s attack on the Moments Musicaux – or the highly strung young Richter’s surge through the finale of the C minor – may be unhappy with Goldstone, since his constricted dynamics and his tendency to break his rhythmic stride often deflate the music’s dramatic effects.

Yet for all the interpretative disappointments, there’s still plenty to admire in these sturdy and unpretentious readings, especially in the more outgoing passages: the bright snap of the first Scherzo, the granitic intensity of the first of the three Klavierstücke, (played in the longer, original version), the cries of despair at the heart of the second Moment Musical, or the boisterous humour of the Scherzo of the A mjor. In sum, while this is probably not a good starting point for casual collectors, experienced Schubertians may find it an intermittently rewarding addition to their collections. The engineering is as honest as the playing, and the notes, by the pianist himself, are exemplary.

—Peter J. Rabinowitz