Notes and Editorial Reviews
Diabelli Variations. Andante Favori
Vladimir Feltsman (pn)
NIMBUS 6257 (64:00)
Feltsman’s elder statesman recordings for Nimbus continue to delight. I have not heard the Russian repertoire (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin) that are included in this series, but that material ought to be mother’s milk for him. His recording of the six partitas of Bach, however, is among my favorite recordings of the year. They are exquisitely wrought, expressed with natural pacing and meticulous attention to
such inner details as texture, tonal color, and delicately shaped dynamic phrasing.
This would seem to be a good formula for
, and for the most part, it is. But Beethoven has a quirky side, not least in this massive set of variations on a theme that the composer initially declared that he detested. My touchstone recordings for this work continue to be those of Peter Serkin, who seems to celebrate the oddness of the music, and Alfred Brendel, who brilliantly underlines the smirking humor that permeates the music. Both pianists, it might go without saying, also bring a bristling virtuosity to the table. They remain my top choices, along with the vintage reading of Schnabel. If you prefer to hear this Beethoven in a more straightforward, less interpretive way, the wisdom and beauty of Feltsman’s playing should be eminently satisfying. The sound is rich and natural, as expected from this label.
FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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