This CD of solo piano music played by the distinguished British pianist Anthony Goldstone is dedicated to his teacher, Maria Curcio, who died at age 89 in 2009. Curcio had been a student of Artur Schnabel and was a brilliant pianist who, because of ill health, principally malnutrition during a time when she and her Jewish husband were in hiding from the Nazis in Holland and then tuberculosis, was unable to pursue a career as a virtuoso. She gave her life over to becoming one of the most revered teachers of the twentieth-century. Among her students have been such pianistic luminaries as Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevich, Leon Fleisher, Mitsuko Uchida, Claude Frank and Radu Lupu. The works performed here were in one way or another associated with Curcio and they make a lovely tribute to Goldstone’s beloved teacher.
Along with such familiar works as Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’, Schumann’s ‘Widmung’ and Rossini’s ‘La danza’, as well as Chopin’s Polonaise in F sharp minor, Mozart’s A Minor Rondo, KWV511, and Beethoven’s Fantasie, Op. 77, we also get rarer but wonderful pieces like Alfredo Casella’s ‘Variations on a Chaconne’, and Reger’s ‘Maria Wiegenlied’. And perhaps best of all, because this is a world première recording, we get Schnabel’s Four Waltzes, Op. 15, No. 3. Most people who even know that Schnabel composed music think that it was all rather gnarly and atonal, but these waltzes are early works and are entirely lovely Viennese bonbons.
The disc concludes with a bit of Curcio herself playing, along with soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf singing, in Mozart’s concert aria ‘Ch’io mi scordi di te? … Non temer, amato bene’, recorded with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw under Otto Klemperer, recorded in 1957. Gorgeous.
Goldstone’s playing is all one could ask for — sensitive, well-shaped, feelingful and effortlessly virtuosic. He is playing a marvelous piano — my hat is off to the piano technician — that has warm middle and low tones and a brilliant upper treble, all recorded magnificently in clear lifelike sound in a warm aural environment. Strongly recommended. (5 stars)