Inspired programming from Divine Art, here. The arrangement of the famous Khachaturian suite is by Alexander Paylovich Dolukhonian (1910-68), husband of the famous mezzo Zara Dolukhanova and, apparently, chess champion of Armenia in the late 1920s. It is a marvelously managed transcription, lightly edited here by the present pianist, Anthony Goldstone. This is a premiere recording, and well worth seeking out, not least for the brightly lit exuberance of the third-movement Mazurka. Goldstone also conveys the sweet melancholy of the Nocturne and the Romance well, while the madcap antics of the final Galop are pure fun.
The mainstay of this recital is, of course, Schumann’s magnificent op. 9 Carnaval . Here Goldstone’s pianistic fluency serves him well. Schumann’s perilous leaps are made to sound easy. The capricious “Arlequin” has a real spring in his step: “Eusebius” is wonderfully ruminative (although the slightly dry acoustic of St. John the Baptist Church, Alkborough, robs the music of some of its wonder). Most importantly, Goldstone is able to maintain clarity of articulation at considerable speed. Perhaps Goldstone’s accents in the final “Marche des Davidsbündler contre les Philistins” are a touch on the barbaric side, but this remains impressive nonetheless.
Goldstone does not head the list with his Schumann, but this is a notable, and often beautiful, reading. I agree with Susan Kagan about the integrity of Myra Hess in this piece. Kagan was reviewing the Philips “Great Pianists of the Century” release in Fanfare 23:3; I would like to add the Music & Arts BBC performance of October 1950 on PR 5646.
The Chopin Souvenir de Paganini (on Carnival of Venice ) is a beautiful way to follow. Goldstone’s fluid legato is a joy. Goldstone entertains still more in the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody . Occasionally he is a little dry of pedal, but still it is easy to revel in the sheer virtuosity of it all. He is no Cziffra (EMI), to be sure, but his remains an exhilarating ride, and to Goldstone’s credit he seems intent on underlining the more progressive writing contained here.
English-born Sydney Smith (1939-89) was a pupil of Moscheles. His brief Fantaisie brillante on Verdi’s “Ballo ” (1961) takes three numbers from act I: “O figlio d’Inghilterra,” “La revedrà nell’ estasi,” and “Alla vita che t’arride.” This is a modern premiere recording (there was a piano roll made in around 1919). Goldstone has the time of his life. In his notes, Goldstone makes the point that “the sparkling coda reveals Smith’s familiarity with Mendelssohn’s piano concerto.” I would argue the influence is detectable elsewhere, also. Finally, an arrangement of Dvorák’s Carnival Overture by Paul Klengel (1854- 1935). Readers may be more familiar with Paul’s brother, Julius (1859-1933): Christopher Williams reviewed a disc of Julius’s cello concertos issued on cpo in Fanfare 25:6. Paul’s arrangement of Dvorák’s masterpiece of festivity results, alas, in one of the more unimaginative experiences of the album. A shame, as this is the last music we hear. Buy this disc, instead, for the Khachaturian and the Smith, and be entertained along the way by the Schumann, the Chopin and the Liszt.