American Record Guide

The provocative title of this recording is “Unheard Mozart”. Unheard, of course, until now. Think of the effective completion of Elgar’s Symphony 3 by Anthony Payne; what Goldstone has done falls along similar lines, without any necessity to orchestrate.

Reflecting on that old adage that if it walks like a duck etc., Goldstone has taken on himself the completion of several items Mozart never finished. Until we enter the great beyond and have a direct opportunity of speaking with the composer (through a universal translator) we will never know how close Goldstone has come to what Mozart actually wanted. For the time being, these are pretty good, stylistically correct, and will make sense to any but the most priggish Mozart enthusiasts.

The scholarly notes by Mozart style authority Julian Rushton puts each piece realized, completed, and performed by Goldstone in context. Lacking the time to study the fragments and sketches in the Neue Mozart Ausgabe, I can only take Rushton at his word. Whether my compositional skills would have brought forth the same results as Goldstone’s can only be determined by travelling the 30 miles to a university that has the NMA. It is a project that will tempt me in the future.

Of the works realised by Goldstone, the largest, by far, are the Sonata in F and the Sonata in G minor. Each is in three movements, and each goes far beyond mere mimicry. The structures are clear, and the invention (Where does Mozart leave off?) highly creative in terms of melody, rhythm, and harmony – all in the context of Mozartean style. Sonata in F is the better of the better of the two, but the one in G minor is entertaining enough in a more simplistic way. Since no sketches exist for a finale, Goldstone has abridged and reordered the variation set for piano duet, K. 501. Those taken in by the absurdities of Schubert’s (?) so-called Symphony in E “1825” that appeared some 15 years ago will find none of that nonsense here. Goldstone has approached his tasks as a highly cultivated and seriously motivated musician whose credentials include some recordings of insight and imagination.

The Allegro, K. 400, runs about ten minutes and has been completed with reasonable aplomb, as has the well-known fantasy in D minor, K. 397, which is given a new and surprising ending (the familiar one had been tacked on by one of the composer’s posthumous editors).

All the remaining pieces are very brief and totally entertaining, With very good sound and entertaining and delightful Mozart and pseudo-Mozart this may be purchased with confidence, unless the very idea annoys you.

—Becker