Romantic Sonatas for Piano Duet
All three sonatas in this superbly enterprising recital explore, in radically different ways, the potential and achievement of the duet form. Moscheles's Grande Sonate is grand indeed, enlivening an outwardly conventional virtuosity with wit and ingenuity. A favourite of Chopin's, its Andante and finale in particular contain a super-abundance of ideas paraded by Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow (a dazzling husband and wife team) with an irresistable relish and sparkle. Moscheles may have ''practised his piano and watched life go by'' (Harold Schonberg) but there was clearly far more to his music than such a mild-mannered suggestion implies. All the same you enter another poetic world when you turn to Fibich's contribution. Here, all extrovert, concert-hall brio is banished to make way for an almost Faurean subtly and ambiguity (try the very opening). The finale, too, has a Gallic insouciance that will remind many listeners of Faure's Dolly Suite, though throughout Fibich (a pupil of Moscheles) shows a harmonic piquancy peculiarly his own.
Finally, Goetz, whose works include an opera on The Taming of the Shrew and a Piano Concerto (ripe for consideration by Hyperion, in their Romantic Piano Concerto series?). The present Sonata's romantic declamation often suggests Mendelssohn at his most urgent and least urbane, a quality caught with rare focus and concentration by Goldstone and Clemmow. But all their performances are exemplary in their commitment, sensitivity and joie de vivre. The recordings are spacious and resonant, the sleeve-note (by both pianists) outstanding and the facing picture (beautifully in keeping with the spirit of the Fibich Sonata) suggests that Anthony Goldstone is a gifted photographer as well as pianist. An unqualified recommendation.'