Anthony Goldstone is one of the most resourceful pianists currently before the public. He has done wonders over years resurrecting music which, for one reason or another, has fallen into disuse. Indeed, the only tracks here that could be thought of as main stream repertoire are those devoted to Schumann’s Carnival which, of course, is available in umpteen other versions on CD.
It’s the rarities that are the main fascination of this recording.
Sydney Smith’s Fantaisie brillante on Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, for instance, is claimed as a first ever on record apart from a piano roll made circa 1919. Some might tut tut at its often superficial writing which it would not be inaccurate to describe as frankly cheap salon material – but its sometimes schmaltzy measures are offered with such gusto and brilliance that its inherent shallowness is forgotten for the duration of the performance. And in a first ever recording of Paul Klengel’s arrangement of Dvorak’s Carnival Overture, Goldstone seems positively to relish coming to grips with its many keyboard challenges. He emerges unscathed from this traversing of a treacherous musical landscape with ebullient, admirably buoyant, playing that marshals avalanches of notes with immense flair.
I liked particularly the skill that Goldstone brings to Chopin’s Souvenir de Paganini (The Carnival of Venice), its much loved theme presented in gorgeous filigree terms with fine tonal light and shade, the composer’s idiosyncratic harmonies contributing to most satisfying listening. But an account of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No 9 (The Carnival of Pesth) tends to ramble in a reading where the soloist might to advantage have surrendered more fully to the Muse.
Khatchaturian’s Masquerade Suite is known to millions in its original incarnation for orchestra. Here, Goldstone gives us the premiere recording of Alexander Dolukhanian’s version of the suite for solo piano. Each of the five movements is finely considered with the concluding Galop a particular delight: the playing is informed by immense brio before a brief moment of reflection, then an all-stops-out conclusion at top speed at high decibel levels.