This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
What stimulates and delights most about this disc is that Cascioli is so alive to the idiosyncrasies of Beethoven’s mind -- he has brainy fingers, which take him unerringly to the inventive nerve-centre of each variation.
Just 20 this year, and already three years into his contract with DG, Gianluca Cascioli already has three fine discs behind him: one popular, one anything but that (both were warmly received by SP, 7/97) and more recently this stimulating and delightful collection of Beethoven variation sets, first issued as part of DG’s epic Beethoven Edition and now released as a single disc.
What stimulates and delights me most is that the young Italian is so alive to the idiosyncrasies of Beethoven’s
mind. Pianistic clarity, control and range of colour virtually go without saying these days; but in addition to those things Cascioli has brainy fingers, which take him unerringly to the inventive nerve-centre of each variation. There seems to be a natural good taste and refinement to his phrasing, but he also knows when a plain-speaking, even downright ‘unmusical’ approach is called for, as in the doltish insistence of the Op. 76 Variations on an Original Theme (actually the same Ruins of Athens march so hilariously beefed up in Rubinstein’s famous transcription).
Everything Cascioli does sounds as if it is exactly what he wants, rather than what some mentor or role-model has decreed to be good for him. This augurs extremely well for his future career. In time he will probably find even more telling shades and nuances in the Andante favori and the Op. 34 Variations (though I hope he will discover them through experience rather than by anxiously seeking them out). But these more sophisticated works are still perfectly enjoyable, and while most of the other variation sets may be little more than chippings from the work-bench of genius, such is the empathy and understanding of Cascioli’s playing that I wanted to take them straight to the piano and play them through myself.
-- Gramophone [7/1999]
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