American Record Guide

Schubert’s sonatas require some difficult decisions on the part of the pianist. First there is the question of whether to include all of the repeats or not? Some of the works, in less than capable hands, do seem to go on forever. Also, there is the tempo conundrum. No less a pianist than Richter often favored stretching some of the movements out to “heavenly lengths”.

British pianist Anthony Goldstone has carefully considered all of his options and in this, the last of his Schubert Piano Masterworks series, can never be accused of “snail’s pace” lingering. As to the matter of repeats, he tends to leave several out in favor of moving the music along. He also has expanded the Sonata in C, D 840 by completing two additional movements so that the torso becomes a complete work in four movements. And it works.

The A-minor Sonata, D 845 and the Sonata in D, D 850 are both given outstanding readings that easily compete with the best available. There is both joy and elation to the interpretations–and an intensity and natural flow that is not always easy to achieve.

The first set of impromptus (D 899) is easily the more popular of the two sets. Goldstone, while not erasing memories of Perahia, Pires, or Uchida, does almost as well and handles the lyrical elements with flowing ease. The ‘Diabelli Variation’, an Allegretto in C minor, D 900 (imaginatively completed by Goldstone), and the ‘Landler’, D 366 complete a recital that cannot be praised too highly. Since Divine Art offers the two discs for the price of one, Schubert lovers will know how to proceed.