International Record Review

Anthony Goldstone’s third volume of Schubert’s piano music is a curiously uneven affair. At his best, Goldstone is an excellent Schubert pianist, as is witnessed particularly in some of the shorter pieces. The set of 17 Ländler (D366) includes some charming playing, with a nice light touch and a cheerful, engaging lilt to the rhythms. In the D899 set of Impromptus there are attractive performances of the C minor and G flat works, though he takes the E flat piece faster than is necessary and puts a strain on the clarity of the racing right-hand triplets. There is also a pleasantly simple account of the little waltz which Schubert contributed to the set of variations requested by the publisher Anton Diabelli (there used to be a complete set of all these, as well as Beethoven’s mighty contribution, and fascinating it was).

It is a pity, then, that too often Goldstone can seem to force the music so much. In the A minor Sonata, he frequently overrules Schubert’s dynamics so that a piano becomes something closer to a forte, even when contrast between the two is of the essence. The variation movementhas some heavy-handed passages, marked by a characteristic that shows up in both the other sonatas included, that of rushing impetuously at a phrase, or seeming to throw another phrase of casually and not always clearly. In the D major Sonata, D850, the opening is fresh and engaging; then the Scherzo draws him into jerky, almost violent playing; the Rondo opens beguilingly, then seems to lose its direction in some blurred and lacklustre playing. Goldstone also includes the so-called Reliquie Sonata, which Schubert left unfinished in 1825. it has frequently been recorded in various editions. Goldstone makes his own completions of the Minuet and, more extensively, the final Allegro. They have a sensitive feeling for what Schubert might have done, which makes the erratic nature of his engagement with the music on this disc the more puzzling.

—John Warrack