It will be a long time before anyone in the audience at Richard Goode's piano recital Saturday night in Columbia's Candlelight Series hears again as remarkable a performance of Schubert's great B-flat Sonata (D. 960).
This is one of those pieces that -- in performance -- rarely lives up to its reputation as one of the supreme summits of the repertory. Schubert's achievement in following a slowish first movement with one that is both slow and sustained is remarkable, but it has made pianists miserable ever since. How does one find the emotional contrasts in music that can -- and usually does -- sound all too similar?
Goode's solution was to avoid the monumentality (and boredom) into which the first movement can sink. He subtly varied his tempos; he made the mysterious trill that pervades the movement -- sometimes like a distant roll of thunder and sometimes menacingly near -- speak with unusual eloquence; and he never let the line of the music sag.