Piano sonatas, etc.
Richard Goode, piano
Richard Goode is one of those dependable musicians who never sets out to dazzle, yet he always does. His impeccable technical control, combined with his insight into whatever music is at hand, gives everything he plays an immediacy that hides the long hours spent developing it. He's most comfortable in the core repertoire, having recorded benchmark versions of the Beethoven sonatas and Bach's partitas, and is no less suited to the intricacies of Mozart, who landed between them.
The disc opens with the A minor sonata, K.310, a work simultaneously angry and restrained. It's hard to tell which mood should win out, and Goode moves between the two effortlessly. But when the time comes at the end of the third movement to finish with the punchy minor chords, Goode proceeds to punch them out.
The closing sonata, No. 15 in F major, K.533/494, is much better behaved. Goode traces its smooth phrases lightly, but still finds plenty of room for large differences between loud and soft playing. Mozart's counterpoint doesn't get lost in the shuffle, and Goode is meticulous in articulating each line and chord cleanly.
The middle four pieces serve as nice filler material, too, for Goode's attentive treatment. The March, K.408, isn't going to turn many heads, but the Rondo, K.511, surely will. The diminutive waltz is soon thrown through a wide variety of moods, but Goode keeps track of them all. Each time that waltz returns, he greets it as an old friend.—Marc Geelhoed
Richard Goode plays Mozart at the Ravinia Festival Sunday 26.