International Piano

Having already investigated the worlds of opera (dda25067) and the carnival (dda25076), Anthony Goldstone turns his attention to the ballet theatre with a scintillating recital of colourful miniatures.

Tchaikovsky benefits less from piano transcriptions than many other composers, simply because the staggering quality of his orchestration is such that the harmonic, textural and polyphonic clarity afforded by the piano is rendered virtually unnecessary. That said, to hear Goldstone affectionately shaping with effortless virtuosity his own skilful transcriptions of excerpts from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake has one relishing these timeless phrases afresh. The glorious opening of the ‘Black Swan’ pas de deux exchanges the spectacular thrust of the orchestral original (Bonynge is inimitable here) for a salonesque intimacy of exquisite poise and timing. Indeed, what stands out here is Goldstone’s ability to convert such pyrotechnically challenging showpieces as Weber’s Invitation to the Dance and Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance into mellifluous, velvet-toned classics, recalling an earlier age when pianists were appreciated more for their musical insights than the strength and independence of their fingers.

Typically, Goldstone includes a number of pianistic rarities along the way, including the enchanting pas de deux from Minkus’s Don Quixote , the ballet music from Mozart’s Ascanio in Alba (what a remarkably fine Mozartian Goldstone is!) and the flitting ‘Echo’s Dance’ from Elgar’s The Sanguine Fan . Finest of all is Dohnányi’s inimitable adaptation of the waltz from Delibes’s Naïla , which Goldstone caresses with beguiling finesse and tonal subtlety.

—Julian Haylock