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CLASSICAL  July 2005

CLASSICAL July 2005

Subject:

Richard Goode Performs Mozart Piano Music

From:

Donald Satz <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 6 Jul 2005 23:08:04 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
         The Piano Works

Sonata in A minor, K. 310 (1778)
March in C major, K. 408 (1782)
Courante in E flat major, K. 399 (1782)
Gigue in G major, K. 574 (1789)
Rondo in A minor, K. 511 (1787)
Sonata in F major, K. 533/494 (1788)

Richard Goode, piano
Recorded American Academy of Arts and Letters,
New York City, June 2003/March 2004
Nonesuch 79831 [59:30]

Comparisons: Gilels/DG, Perahia/Sony, Uchida/Philips

With four Mozart Piano Concerto recordings under his belt, Richard
Goode now approaches Mozart's works for solo piano.  As with the concerto
discs, Goode is generally a model of good taste, refinement, and the
fluid phrasing so important in Mozart's music.  The three short pieces
on the program are delightfully performed and the Rondo is one of the
more rewarding accounts in the catalogs.  Both of the sonatas are
excellently played, although the right-hand arpeggios in the A minor's
first movement are not sufficiently forceful.

This would all add up to a strong recommendation, yet I am not fully
satisfied.  Be it Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven, Goode strikes me as a
highly poetic and elegant pianist who uses restraint in his interpretations.
As a result, his performances do not tend to be strong on tension,
excitement, or drama.  One might argue that Goode's fluidity and beauty
of form more than offset any deficiencies.  However, there always are
other recording artists who match Goode's better traits while offering
greater friction.

Such is the case with Goode's new Mozart disc.  Although Mozart's
musical personality is more affable than Beethoven's, there is significant
excitement and stress in the outer movements of Mozart's sonatas such
as the A minor.  The three comparison versions fully capture these
qualities, but Goode takes us only half the way at best.  I must say
that Goode is superb in Mozart's slow movements, and the A minor's Andante
is no exception: gorgeous phrasing, incisive poignancy, and an intoxicating
rhythmic flow.  However, this description of Goode's Andante also applies
to those from Giles, Perahia, and Uchida.  The Sonata in F major is a
better match for Goode's style.  The two outer movements are quite playful
in character, and Goode always captures Mozart's playful nature in
exceptional fashion.

Ultimately, there is not a second on the disc that astounds or illuminates
the programmed music.  Goode plays attractively, but there is more to
Mozart than nice sounds and phrasing.  The sonics are also attractive
but not really to my taste; the reverberation is a little too wet to
gain my affection.

Don's Conclusions: Those of you who treasure the recordings of Richard
Goode should find his new Mozart disc equally rewarding.  If you tend
to share my reservation that Goode is low on drama and friction, the
disc will not dispel your doubts.  Also, the disc is not generous and
could easily have accommodated another sonata.

Don Satz
[log in to unmask]

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