International Piano

The nature of tzigane (gypsy) music is passionate, wild and abandoned. Although this programme is centred around ‘gypsy-inspired music’, Augusta Holmès’s little trifle Reverie Tzigane with its stuttering cimbalom effect and Anthony Goldstone’s own arrangement of the Haydn ‘Gypsy Rondo’ – complete with a cadenza made up of Schubert fragments – push the connection to its limits, even though the latter is played at breakneck speed. Nevertheless there is nothing tenuous about Kodály’s Dances of Galánta but the arrangement for piano lacks the orchestral colouring of the original.

Goldstone’s playing is outstanding. He gives just the right amount of light and shade to Liszt’s sixth Hungarian Rhapsody, and his performance of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances is sheer joy. On this occasion his arrangement of no.11 from piano duet to solo piano in no way diminishes the music. If you like what Busoni does to other composers then you’ll love his take on Carmen. Unusually it has a rather dark ending; it’s not to my taste but it does have its moments. The remaining works are in the spirit of the gypsy theme. Dohnányi’s impassioned Rhapsody in F sharp minor, op. 11 no. 2, is given a towering performance by Goldstone, who is also totally at one with Falla in his Fantasia Baetica. Both composer and his interpreter capture the pulsating heart of Spain in which the singing of the Andalusian gypsies is brought to life. Interestingly, Goldstone points out in his programme notes that “the piece depends for its spontaneous effect on the player’s strict adherence to the composer’s precise instructions,” and it does work.

The disc comes to a rousing end with George Enescu’s fiendishly difficult concert transcription of his Romanian Rhapsody no. 1. The music captures the wild spirit of tzigane and Goldstone tosses it off with consummate ease. In spite of some reservations, this is exhilarating music.

—Shirley Ratcliffe