Richard Goode

Sonata in D, HXVI:24
Fantasias, Op.116
Nocturne in D flat, Op.63
Préludes, Book II

Richard Goode (piano)

Reviewed by: Rob Pennock

Reviewed: 13 May, 2007
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Richard Goode is particularly noted as a recording artist for his Beethoven and Mozart, but his repertoire is much wider. This recital was satisfyingly old-fashioned, spanning a whole range of styles and periods.

Goode is certainly not a member of the modern faceless, technical-wonders tribe. The Haydn was unevenly fingered and occasionally rather stiff, but there was a compensating generosity of phrasing and tone which made, for example, the first movement development sound almost Beethovenian. The slow movement was leisurely and the last movement sparkled. Throughout the work Goode used a limited dynamic range, but was not – thank heavens – afraid to use the sustaining pedal.

Late Brahms needs varied but beautiful tone and the ability to integrate the cross-rhythms into long singing lines. Goode did this quite beautifully through exquisite touch and control of micro-dynamics. The use of rubato was positively old-world, the left-hand keeping the rhythmic base and the right giving and taking from each note – glorious to hear in a world where such subtlety is almost extinct.

In the Fauré there was singing tone and, when the opening theme returned after the central section, the touch was subtly different, the sound even more translucent.

Of the Debussy little can be said other than it was totally ravishing. The dynamic range was limited, the mood ethereal; you were left with the impression that these pieces were a string of nocturnes. Yet Goode also brought the dance rhythms to life and was peerlessly commanding in the final example, ‘Feux d’artifice’ (Fireworks).

The two encores (Chopin and Brahms) were to the same high standard. A quite exceptional evening of gloriously individual pianism.

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