welcome this disk wholeheartedly for its joyous and infectious
Gershwin works jump out of the speakers at you and, only occasionally,
do you regret the lack of orchestral or dance band accompaniment.
This says a lot for the music which would appear to need the
colourful orchestral part to cover Gershwin’s failings in
handling of form. These performances made me rethink what
I had always considered to be the stumbling blocks in these
pieces. I certainly wouldn’t want to be without the orchestral
versions but these chamber images are excellent expositions
of the scores.
Ravel pieces are a different matter.
mère l’Oye (Mother
Goose), or One in the Eye for Mother, as my dear
Master at college always called it, is an original composition
for piano duet. Written for the enjoyment of children – certainly
not for children to play as it is far too difficult for the
age group the work is aimed at – these five movements are
a sheer delight. Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the
Beast and an enchanted garden are amongst the people
and places inhabiting Ravel’s magical imagination. If you
don’t know the work you have missed one of the great treats
of musical literature.
Sites auriculaires contain two of Ravel’s earliest works – an Habanera (which
resurfaces ten years later as the third movement in the Rapsodie
espagnole) and a tintinnabulation called Entre cloches.
Playing for a little over five minutes this shows a side of
Ravel which comes to fruition later in his career – Le
Gibet, for instance, with its continual tolling bell,
and the Spanish influence.
wrote Fascination (Valse tzigane) in 1904 and
sold it to Marchetti due to his impecunious circumstances.
The following year the publisher Durrand would give him a
contract for 12,000 francs per annum. Goldstone’s arrangement
adds sly glances at both Ma mère
told Arthur Honegger that he had “… written only one masterpiece
– Boléro. Unfortunately
there’s no music in it”. Of course he was wrong; there are
many masterpieces and there is a lot of music in Boléro. However
the work must have hung like the proverbial
millstone round his neck. It’s easy to be superior and claim
that it is of no intrinsic value but Boléro cannot be ignored. It is a fantastic
piece of work, which holds the attention in spellbound fascination
as it treads its weary way to the fabulous, and hair-raising,
modulation to E major and equally rapid fall back into C.
After this I would have welcomed these players launching into
the two piano version of La Valse.
performances, excellent recording and fine notes, by Goldstone,
make this a most desirable disk.