Gramophone

A disc of charm and curios, which might satisfy all of the would-be-performer, the scholar or those merely wanting a hits collection on the keyboard. The biggest curio is the Sonata K545, a kind of “Edvard Grieg plays Mozart” (as in “Jacques Loussier plays Bach”) in which the second piano provides a running commentary of jam session, harmonic filler and, in Grieg’s words, “a sound that commends itself to modern ears”. Well, “modern” has, of course, become “Romantic”, but time has been kind and the result, Mozart with bass and drums avant la letter, is compelling, a tribute to the Norwegian composer’s wit and taste.

The four-hand version of the Piano Concerto as a collaboration between Grieg and the Hungarian musician Károly Thern (he provided the “orchestration” underneath the soloist, Grieg the rest). The arrangement sounds well, its naturally increased focus on rhythm stressing the work’s more contemporary elements; Goldstone [and Clemmow! – ed.] delivers it with considered panache. Confidence and space are the hallmarks of the duo’s Peer Gynt suite (one of the three versions Grieg made of this music) and the romance of “The Death of Ǻse” is cunningly inflected. The piano duets of the Norwegian Dances are taken quite swiftly but with an appropriately Beechamesque wistfulness. Recorded with clarity last year in a Lincolnshire church, the performances have a consistently live feel and will give pleasure.

—Mike Ashman