“A Mozart programme such as this, which includes two of the greatest sonatas and the A minor Rondo, leaves absolutely no margin for error or insufficiency, nor indeed for anything at all approximate or generalised. It's given to very few to play Mozart as well as Richard Goode, who seems to pitch the rhetoric just right and sustain an ideal balance of strength and refinement.
It's quite big playing, and the range of sonority is appropriate to the A minor Sonata, K310, in particular; no other recent recording realises so well the sharp contrasts, the cross-cut abutments of dynamics, which are such a striking feature in all three movements. Goode has a characteristic touch of urgency that has nothing to do with impetuosity or agitation of the surface, but rather with carrying the discourse forward and making us curious about what will happen next. In the presto finale, where Brendel is choppy and rather slow, Goode is exciting and articulate, wonderfully adept at getting from one thing to another.
There's little to choose between these players in the composite F major Sonata, K533. Brendel is at his finest in the dark, far-reaching middle movement; both of them relish the challenge of characterising the multifariousness of the first; Goode is especially convincing in the last movement.
He gives you the overview, too, often powerfully.
While admiring the flux of intensities, dynamics, shapes and colours he sets before you in the Rondo, you might wonder three-quarters of the way through whether the totality was going to achieve enough weight. But the coda is to come – passionate and desolate, a close without parallel in Mozart's instrumental music – and at moments such as this you can be assured that Goode will surprise and certainly not disappoint.
The shorter pieces, enterprisingly chosen, set off the great works admirably. Exceptional sound throughout – like the playing, quite out of the ordinary run.”