The bio appearing in the program booklet states: “Mr. Goode is widely regarded as the legitimate heir to the mantle of his teacher Rudolf Serkin in the Mozart-Beethoven-Schubert-Brahms repertory.” This is certainly true, but as illustrated by Richard Goode’s Philadelphia recital on Wednesday night [October 27, 2004], it is not the whole truth. Two seasons ago, Goode included Chopin and Debussy on his program, to great acclaim. This time, he added Schoenberg and devoted the entire second half of his program to Debussy.
Goode began his program with the Bach Partita in E minor (BMV 830). His playing was expressive, but appropriately restrained. While refraining from giving Bach the full “romantic” treatment that some favor, he let us know that this was a performance on a modern piano, not a baroque instrument. I should note that, while the rest of the program was played from memory, Goode had the music in front of him for Bach. Perhaps his memory was shaky on this work? Whatever the reason, it did not detract from his performance.
Next, Goode presented Schoenberg’s Six Little Pieces for Piano, Op. 19. The emphasis was on “little.” If, for example, a Chopin Waltz is described as a miniature, each of these pieces is microscopic. I will admit that this was my least favorite segment of the program, but this was due to the music, not the performance.
Despite Goode’s adventures in other areas of the repertory, for me, it wouldn’t be a Richard Goode recital without Beethoven. Goode obliged my desire (and, I’m sure, many audience members) with a superb rendition of late Beethoven, the Op. 109 Sonata. The long, slow final movement is Beethoven at his most spiritual, and I can only describe Goode’s performance as…heavenly!
After intermission, Goode played Book 1 of Debussy’s Preludes. Some of these pieces are often heard: the sweet Girl with Flaxen Hair; the mysterious Engulfed Cathedral. But I also enjoyed the less familiar pieces in this set. “What the West Wind Saw” particularly stands out in my mind, but Goode’s performance of all of these works was masterful, and was warmly received by the audience. Encores by Chopin and Schubert closed out this wonderful recital, and I’m looking forward to his next visit to Philadelphia.
Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!
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Thought I'd post another review from the vault. Richard Goode is scheduled to present his next Philadelphia recital on February 5, 2021. At this point, we do not know whether there will be a live audience.
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