Beethoven: 33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Philips Virtuoso
WORKS: 33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli
PERFORMER: Stephen Kovacevich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 422 969-2 ADD Reissue (1968)
This recording, made in 1968 when Kovacevich was a youthful lion of the concert platform, has long been a favourite among lovers of Beethoven’s titanic transformations of Diabelli’s little waltz. Nor has its power diminished with the intervening three decades: Kovacevich plays with an elemental energy, soaring through the entire gamut of Beethovenian feeling and philosophy. Leaving aside the marvellous technical accomplishment (the disc is well labelled ‘Virtuoso’) and the vibrant understanding of colour, brusque power and humour, this performance is a classic for the unshakeable conviction with which Kovacevich underlines every twist and quirk of Beethoven’s imagination. Jessica Duchen