Festivities, dancing and enthralling violin virtuosity have been the popular picture of Gypsy culture for centuries. Haydn, Brahms and Liszt all drew inspiration from this image, incorporating the lively Gypsy dance rhythms into their own works. In this disc’s informative booklet notes Anthony Goldstone gives us the real background of this fascinating culture and he is spot on in his selection of works by the above-mentioned composers.
Goldstone usually appears as part of a piano duo with his wife Caroline Clemmow, but he is a fine pianist in his own right. Here, the real joy is his skill as an arranger of idiomatic concert transcriptions of works by Haydn, Brahms and Kodály. Enescu himself arranged his justly famous Romanian Rhapsody for solo piano, but Goldstone proves to be just as inventive, not least in his pursuit of the often-tricky voicing stemming from having to reduce an orchestral piece to ten fingers. Many pieces on this CD will be new even to avid collectors, but others, such as Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 will be well-known from many well-played recordings, something that does not scare Goldstone.
In fact, what really makes this disc so utterly finger-tapping is the sprightly sparkling joy and daredevilry with which Goldstone fearlessly delves into this music. It would be churlish to ask for anything more from such a finely recorded and beautifully presented release.