Each new release from Anthony Goldstone presents us with something special. Here we have ballet excerpts either rarely heard in this format or rarely heard at all. He opens with his own arrangement of the ‘Pas de deux’ from the Nutcracker and takes us way beyond, through the final Coda. It works quite well, and the ear fills in the missing instruments.
From Swan Lake we hear the ‘black swan pas de deux’ from Act 3 and a rarely heard ‘Pas de deux’ that only surfaced in the 1950’s. Although left incomplete, it has been reconstructed, choreographed by Balanchine, and sometimes makes a ballet appearance as the “’Pas de deux of Seigfried and Odile’. The Swan Lake excerpts take a little over 20 minutes.
Goldstone has the added flexibility of performing pieces not originally written for ballet but adapted for ballet use by choreographers. Into this category fall Scott Joplin’s ‘Elite Syncopations”, Chopin’s waltz in C-sharp minor, and Weber’s Invitation to the Dance – all stylishly performed.
Minkus, the composer of endless junk ballet, has Goldstone busy once again as an arranger, basing his keyboard reduction on Lanchberry’s score for Don Quixote. The excerpts are pleasant if not much more. Dohnányi’s virtuosic take on the Waltz from Delibes’s Naïla is a most welcome inclusion, as is the brief excerpt from Elgar’s Sanguine Fan.
If the ballet music from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba does not shake the heights, it is definitely a rarity, and Goldstone relishes each note. If one adds the pianist’s literate writing and the fine piano sound, this becomes another feather in the cap of a true keyboard explorer.