Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme

Magazine article Gramophone

Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme

Article excerpt


Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op 33 (original and revised versions).

Nocturne, Op 19 No 4. Pezzo capriccioso, Op 62. Andante cantabile, Op 11

Istvin Vardai vc

Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra/Tibor Boganyi

Brilliant [B] 94876 (55' * DDD)

'Deplorably corrupt' is how Tchaikovsky's biographer, David Brown, describes the draconian alterations made to the Rococo Variations by the work's dedicatee, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen. It's a sorry tale: the German cellist effectively duped the publisher Jurgenson into believing that his wholesale and self-serving changes had already met with Tchaikovsky's approval; in fact, they play havoc with the canny pacing and judicious proportions of the composer's meticulously crafted original scheme, while jettisoning some enchanting music entirely, not least the agile eighth variation that leads straight into the coda (try from 16'54").

Certainly, the present superb performance triumphantly vindicates Tchaikovsky's first thoughts. Not yet 30, the young Hungarian virtuoso Istvan Vardai has been garnering plenty of prizes and plaudits of late, and his outstandingly fine contribution marries a gratifyingly sumptuous and varied tonal palette to a flawless technical address--that we shall be hearing a lot more from him I have not the slightest doubt. …

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