The Whole Note

The Goldstone & Clemmow piano duo have been performing together for more than 30 years. Their latest, and sadly final, release is Franz Schubert – the Complete Original Piano Duets (Divine Art dda 21701  divineartrecords.com).  Anthony Goldstone passed away just as the packaging details of the current recording were being finalized.

These two pianists created a remarkable four-hands keyboard presence. Unity was the hallmark of their playing. They shared every nuance of the music without hesitation, as, though a single mind controlled all four hands. Their playing has been utter perfection, with a pianistically Zen oneness to all articulation, dynamics and phrasing. It always takes a few minutes of wonder at the technical beauty of their performance before you can relax into what the composer has actually intended to say. All the more reason to laud this substantial seven-CD set as the pinnacle of their lifetime’s work.

Rather than organize the recording by genre or chronology, the duo has taken the complete Schubert piano duo repertoire and created seven recital programs, balancing key relationships, moods and artistic weight. The result is a wonderfully listenable collection that also includes a Schumann Polonaise for piano four hands, at the end of each recital disc. These date from 1828 and are believed to have been inspired by Schubert’s piano duets – a fitting match.

It’s a beautiful set, brilliantly assembled and as inspired as anything they have ever done. Goldstone & Clemmow’s final recording project is definitely an item to collect.

—Alex Baran