The Divine Art label is nothing if not adventurous, often casting its repertoire net wider than that of many other labels, and on this new CD, the first of what promises to be a valuable two-CD exploration of Tchaikovsky’s music in versions for solo piano, we have the opportunity of being able to experience the composer’s art through the medium by which such music is hardly ever heard. Nor is this a gimmicky approach—for when this music first appeared, it was through transcriptions, either for one pianist or for two pianists at one instrument, that the majority of music-lovers initially encountered it. It is also fascinating to hear familiar music in this guise because it enables the attentive listener to concentrate upon the inner workings of this music, and thereby acquire a deeper understanding of Tchaikovsky’s genius.
Thankfully, also, we have the inestimable advantage of having Anthony Goldstone as our guide in this project, and the results are musically outstanding. Not only is this recording quality very good indeed, but also the booklet notes are particularly informative, yet it is the pianist’s committed approach which is the most compelling aspect of this programme, containing as it does, particularly effective transcriptions by Goldstone and Lippold. We are promised that Volume 2 will contain transcriptions by Pavel Pabst, which should be just as valuable as these.