Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Arte Nova
WORKS: Diabelli Variations
PERFORMER: Alfredo Perl (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 74321 27761 2 Reissue (1993)
Alfredo Perl’s account of the Diabelli Variations is a little slow in getting off the ground: the march-like first variation, which gives Diabelli’s tune such a decisive kick in the pants, is rather ponderous; and the music’s flow during the earlier stages is not helped by excessively long pauses between the individual variations. However, when it does achieve lift-off Perl’s performance, crowned with a fine account of the fugue and the transcendental minuet-like final variation, is highly impressive. The recorded sound is first-class, and as a bargain-price version of this great work, this would be hard to beat. For performances that manage to convey that extra ounce of quirky humour, while at the same time plumbing greater depths, try either Alfred Brendel (his ‘live’ Royal Festival Hall recording on Philips is outstanding, though the sound is a little gruff) or the idiosyncratic recent version by Piotr Anderszewski. Misha Donat