Harrods International Piano Series – Richard Goode

French Suite in D minor
Partita in B flat
Nocturne in E, Op.62/2
Six Mazurkas
Sonata in A flat, Op.110

Richard Goode (Piano)

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: 14 December, 2000
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

If Richard Goode wasn’t at his best for this recital, the slow movements of the Bach pieces (the French Suite played from the score) opened up an infinite world of expressive possibilities, one that suspended time and spoke of the deepest things. Less successful were the quick sections, which were somewhat foursquare, some of the part writing not ideally balanced.

The Chopin group disappointed. It’s one thing to play Chopin with tonal allure and pleasing phrasing; it’s quite another to be emotionally engaged and extend the structure beyond the tune. Goode, especially in the half-dozen Mazurkas he chose (some of Chopin’s most personal music), seemed only interested in the surface – his opulent tone and sound-bite presentation didn’t hold the attention. However favourable initial impressions, particularly the Nocturne, which seized the air with bloom and grace, it soon became obvious that Goode was remaining outside of the music’s soul. This is fatal in the Mazurkas and he seemed impatient with the great Barcarolle, here robbed of culmination by allowing bars to rush.

Goode’s considerable reputation has been earned by his playing of Beethoven. I first heard him in a wonderful performance of the Fourth Concerto with Kurt Sanderling and the Los Angeles Philharmonic (in London), then in a number of sonata renditions, part of his QEH cycle. Op.110 was this recital’s highpoint, at first exploratory, then bursting with power in the scherzo. In the slow movement Goode found an inner-sanctum of expression before fugally transporting both music and listener to the summit. There was no encore.

  • Alfredo Perl will give the next Harrods recital in the QEH on Tuesday 16 January. His recital includes Bach, Liszt, Schoenberg and Schubert’s last sonata, the B flat (D960)
  • The Box Office number is 020 7960 4242
  • www.sbc.org.uk

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