These Goldstones are on to something. Now that no one can afford to hire an orchestra, let alone pay the admission ticket to hear it, and presumably the Albert Hall and Festival Hall will be following the example of Woolworths in selling off its fittings at bargain prices, it may well be time to take the photos off the piano, unless it has gone to the pawn shop, and make a start on some laborious Gradus ad Parnassum towards practice of the slower movements in the Classical repertoire. After all, that is precisely how I began my acquaintance with the Beethoven symphonies.
Chopin ‘s Second Piano Concerto would probably sound glorious on a couple of mouth organs, so there is nothing but delight in this version, thus expertly performed by Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow, a remarkably gifted husband-and-wife team. The start of the finale is enough to raise everyone’s spirits from the fathomless depths of any depression.
And those still possessing a score of the work can note with interest the occasional diversion from what is usually played in the solo part. In short, careful research has combined with admirable musicianship to produce this performance.
The Rondo in C, written when Chopin was eighteen, began as a work for solo piano; but it was Chopin himself who recast it for two pianos, a medium he seems never to have used again. It is therefore the only work on this CD that has required no other musician for public presentation.
It might be thought that Brahms ‘s keyboard style, received initially with such incomprehension, was at an opposite extreme from Chopin’s. Yet one of the most interesting rarities on this CD is Brahms’s elaboration of the F minor Etude, Op 25 No 2. He was nineteen at the time he made the arrangement, thickening the texture doubtless to test the limits of his own technique. Hence Goldstone’s prudent decision to revise the piece for two pianos.
The most dreary of all musical jokes is probably Mozart ‘s, and Goldstone advises any who object to making fun from the musical Classics to halt the CD before its final track. But I for one have never ceased to relish Fauré and Messager in their concoction of quadrilles from Wagner ‘s Ring . So Goldstone’s take on the ‘Revolutionary’ study and ‘Raindrop’ prelude entertained me for what it is, and still has me guessing about the additional ‘pluvial’ and ‘revolutionary’ pieces he claims to have included in his jeu d’esprit.