For last year’s Volume 1 (DDA25093), Anthony Goldstone’s programme consisted of others’ renditions of some of Tchaikovsky’s orchestral and operatic music. Now he is back with a diverting look at the ballets, featuring transcriptions and paraphrases from musicians all connected to Tchaikovsky or to each other.
Goldstone is an old hand at this kind of thing: a decade ago he and his wife Caroline Clemmow recorded some Tchaikovsky duets for Divine Art, including the premiere of Sergei Taneyev’s unforgettable transcription of the whole of the Fourth Symphony and an extraordinary piano version of the Marche Slave (DDA25020). Elsewhere his huge discography is peppered with bravura works of this Romantic-period ilk.
For this recording Goldstone is Clemmowless, although it sometimes appears otherwise, given the virtuosic nature of what is after all music for pianists with a streak of exhibitionism – certainly the case as far as the two Paraphrases are concerned. As melodist extraordinaire Tchaikovsky’s writing lends itself particularly well to these entertainment-transcriptions, with the next memorable tune arriving before the music even has time to think about lulling.
That is nowhere more true than in the marvellous transcription of Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky’s pupil and friend Alexander Ziloti, recorded rather amazingly for the first time. Normally, a forty-nine minute work for solo piano is asking a lot of listeners, but not here: whether enjoyed as an endless sequence of captivating melodies and foot-tapping rhythms, or as a spectacle of breathtaking pianism and exquisite detail from Goldstone and Ziloti alike, time simply whizzes by.
The same can be said of the disc as a whole. Goldstone’s modesty is disarming, whilst his technique and ear for the poetic phrase and dramatic flourish are almost second to none. He may be in his late sixties, but if the years are ever going to catch up with him, they will have to move faster!
Goldstone’s own booklet notes are in English only, but are detailed, well written and interesting. The back inlay claims Pabst’s highly impressive Concert Paraphrase as a first recording, but this is presumably a misprint – there are at least two others, by Earl Wild and Oleg Marshev, the latter dating back to the 1990s.
Sound quality is excellent. In fact, the only bad thing about this disc is that it is officially the last one in the series
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