Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Article excerpt

Beethoven [G] Diabelli Variations, Op 120 Martin Helmchen pf Alpha (F) ALPHA386 (55' * DDD)

No sooner does Alpha release Filippo Gorini's solo debut CD featuring Beethoven's Diabelli Variations than the same label issues another set of Diabellis in weirdly close proximity, this time with Martin Helmchen. Talk about marketing amnesia! In any event, Helmchen's commanding pianism and perceptive musicianship hold their own in a competitive catalogue.

Helmchen follows his brisk and energetic dispatch of Anton Diabelli's waltz theme with an opening march variation that manages to be maestoso yet animated at the same time. He controls Var 2's broken leggiermente chords with the utmost precision, bringing the dissonances to the fore, and eloquendy addresses the dolce directive in Vars 3 and 4. Var 5's repeated-note phrases have a bouncy lightness that Gorini doesn't quite match, although the latter's ferocity and grit in Vars 7 and 8 differ from Helmchen's cooler vantage point. In the lyrical Var 8, Helmchen's shimmer and transparency contrast with Gorini's broader expressive gait. Helmchen brilliantly sprints through Var 10's rapid staccato chords, while really making those few moments of legato articulation distinct. He generates riveting tension in Var 11 by ever so slightly holding back at the ends of certain phrases, in contrast to Gorini's more generalised execution. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.