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Pictures from an Exhibition (manuscript version)

Hopak (Gopak) - earlier version On the Southern Shore of the Crimea (Gurzuf) Ein Kinderscherz (later version) In the Village From Memories of Childhood (completed by A Goldstone) The Seamstress Impromptu Passionné (later version) Intermezzo in modo classico (later version) Earlier variants from Pictures from an Exhibition: Gnomus, Baba-Yagá, The Bogatyr Gates in Kiev


Divine Art dda 25100

Having immersed myself in Mussorgsky's vocal music, and produced an LP of The Nursery etc in original versions, I keenly awaited this, possibly the most important recording in Anthony Goldstone's series, recorded as usual on his Grotrian piano at the Alkborough village church close by his Lincolnshire home there.

There are many recordings of Pictures from an Exhibition, which Richter considered to be "the most profound masterwork of Russian piano music", but this one scores by being given in context with other pieces which relate to it. Goldstone plays from Mussorgsky's own manuscript, including a few variants.

There is no let-down; Goldstone is fully equal to this demanding score, and he supplies illuminating notes which, taken together, makes this release an essential purchase for Mussorgsky enthusiasts.

My illustration is Hartmann's picture of the Great Gate of Kiev, without the over-printing which is the least attractive feature of this series' cover pictures...

A worthy addition to an important series, strongly recommended even if you have several others, including the Ravel orchestration.

Peter Grahame Woolf


Les démons s'amusent (No. 2 from Les rêves, Op. 15)
Les géants dansent (No. 1 from Dans leur pays, Op. 27)
Feuilles d'automne, Op. 29
Une fête, Op. 38
Chansons blanches, Op. 48
Esclavage et liberté, Op. 22
Two episodes from Yolka (The Christmas Tree), Op. 21
Trois idylles, Op. 50
Scènes bucoliques, Op. 28
Tableaux pour enfants, Op. 37
Parmi eux, Op, 35


Divine Art dda25081

Apart from the horrid overprinting on the covers, this Russian Piano Music Series has much to commend it for musical explorers.

Innovative in his time and an early proponent of the whole-tone scale, the all but forgotten music of Vladimir Rebikov (1866-1920) foreshadowed composers like Debussy, Scriabin, Stravinsky, Copland and Villa-Lobos. His tiny experimental pieces tackle a variety of problems; the Chansons blanches, on white keys only, anticipate Constant blanchesLambert's 30 years on.

This survey has 42 little pieces in 50 minutes, outdoing in their brevity Webern's to come, plus one of Rebikov's few extended Lisztian Tableaux musical-psychologiques, a continuous stream-of-consciousness 20 minutes single movement.

Anthony Goldstone's comprehensive notes draw you into this unique composer's world, and he plays all the music with a winning flair, recorded close by his home in the village church at Alkborough, Lincolnshire.

Warmly recommended, and lots of worthwhile pieces to consider for piano teachers (who just might know The Christmas Tree) [Scores available free on line, e.g. .pdf R of Chansons blanches.

Sergei Lyapunov

Piano Sonata in F minor, op. 27;
Barcarolle in G sharp minor, op. 46;
Variations on a Georgian Theme, op. 60;
Fêtes de Noël, op. 41;
Nocturne in D flat major, op. 8;
Mazurka in G minor, op. 36

Anthony Goldstone
Russian Piano Music Series Volume 4

Divine Art DDA25084 [TT: 72.36 £7.95]

In contrast to the originalty of Rebikov, this disc of music by Sergei Mikhailovich Lyapunov (1859-1924) offers more conventional satisfactions. The selection of pieces is well chosen and they all sound well, recorded in his village church on Goldstone's usual Grotrian piano.

The sonata is a 25-mins continuous work, modelled partly on Liszt's, and it is a wholly viable concert work, better than Tchaikovsky's, I thought. And the Georgian Theme's variations are worth knowing, too. This ongoing series of recordings by Goldstone and McLachlan is definitely worth exploring.

Anton Arensky

Préludes, Op. 63
Essais dur les rythmes oubliès, Op. 28
12 Études, Op. 74
Arabesques, Op. 67
3 Morceaux Op 42

Anthony Goldstone (piano
Russian Piano Music Series Volume 5

Divine Art DDA25085

This one has a far better cover image, but the music is on the whole less interesting that that of the composers reviewed above.

The pieces (39 of them in 71 mins) are easy listening and reward piano playing facility, but don't add up to a satisfactory recital. There are some teasing rhythmic rregularities in the Essais dur les rythmes oubliès and one of the Etudes.

All put across with the enthusiasm and expertise we have come to expect from Goldstone.


Marche slave, Op. 31 * (transcribed by H. Hanke) Potpourri on themes from the opera The Voyevoda (transcribed by 'H. Cramer ' i.e. Tchaikovsky) Theme and Variations from Orchestral Suite no. 3 in G, Op. 55 * Serenade in C for String Orchestra, Op. 48 * (transcribed by Max Lippold, Anthony Goldstone)

Divine art dda 25093 [73 mins]

This is more a musicological exercise - and a very good one - than a piano recital for pleasure. The notes by Anthony Goldstone do credit to his exhaustive research and one has to compliment him on recording all this music with the necessary virtuosity and enormous stamina which is required.

Also praise for his taking the trouble to give us precise track timings for every point he makes (why is it not routine by now?).

But the actual playing on the piano in the church round the corner from his Alkborough village it is rather basic pianism; it would need, say, a Pletnev to bring this orchestral music to life on the piano. The brick walls probably don't help dampen the rather harsh recorded tone.

So this is one for the Tchaikovsky completist and student; not high on the Goldstone list for collectors of this pianists remarkable recorded legacy, which will maintain his presence in catalogues of the distant future.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also Goldstone & Clemmow http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/G&C_British.htm