LAWRENCE BUDMEN appreciates
the playing of Richard Goode
Once in a generation an artist emerges who transcends mere instrumental mastery and offers music making on the most exultant level. Like such past masters of the keyboard as Artur Schnabel and Rudolf Serkin, Richard Goode possesses a unique spark of musical genius. In every score he plays, Goode seems to find the very heart of the composer's musical utterance. On 19 October 2003 at the Gusman Concert Hall, University of Miami, USA, Goode offered a superb recital to open the Sunday Afternoons of Music series.
Goode is a true poet of the piano. The sheer tonal splendor he produced was astounding! Unlike many pianists who play at one generalized volume, he offered a huge dynamic range and an astonishing variety of tonal hues. Many keyboard artists play Franz Schubert's sonatas in a cool, cerebral matter. Goode's performance of the inspired Piano Sonata in A Minor D845 pulsated with musical life. His rhythmic incisiveness and tonal beauty made the opening Moderato a riveting study in contrasts. The crystalline lightness of Goode's cantabile line in the Andante poco moto recalled Schubert's songs and vocal music. The Scherzo-Allegro vivace danced off the keyboard like a true ländler. Here Goode brought vigor, brio, and charm to every phrase. The finale was beautifully proportioned -- a deeply satisfying summation of Schubert's impassioned lyricism. Every bar of this magical score was filled with musical insight. Goode's technique was awesome! Every note and run was perfectly articulated. Here was inspired music by an artist whose total commitment is first and foremost to the composer.
Richard Goode. Photo © Deborah Feingold
No less impressive was Goode's traversal of Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertänze Op 6. This balletic score received a performance filled with rhythmic verve and brio. Goode's exquisitely shaded pianissimos were breathtaking. His performance captured both the lyrical nobility and the heaven storming drama of Schumann's music. The dance-like fervor, glowing romanticism and grand line were all set forth with the precision of a master. Goode's ability to find the score's inner life was rare indeed. The clarity and rhythmic impetus of every phrase were clearly defined. Details that are often obscured in performances by lesser artists were clearly articulated. Here was familiar music sounding new and fresh in a committed, state of the art performance. The wonderful romantic ardor that Goode brought to Schumann's score was balm to jaded ears.
Goode opened the concert with Six Bagatelles Op 126 by Beethoven. These short works are often assigned to students as exercise pieces. Goode brought this music to another level. The rhythmic urgency of the second movement Allegro was striking. He found pathos in the Quasi allegretto and rustic vigor in the Presto. The elegant pianism of the Andante amabile e con moto was memorable. Beethoven's music was imbued with lilt and charm in Goode's masterful hands.
What a joy to hear a recital on this level. Here was great music in inspired performances. Richard Goode is a consummate musician and a great artist!