Beethoven 'Diabelli' and 'Eroica' Variations

"This is one of the most robust and extrovert performances currently available on record." The Times



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Review "I recently reviewed Diabelli Variations by Ashkenazy and a live, BBC recording by Brendel. Bernard Roberts's rendition is easily in their league. It was recorded in a single day, a testimony to Roberts's concentration and technique. One thing that is almost unique to Roberts's version is his piano tone's suggestion of real animal spirits. He makes a big, somewhat bony sound that is captured in this 1989 recording with a large amount of hall ambience. I imagine that Beethoven himself, as a piano virtuoso, must have conveyed a similar sense of healthy well-being. Roberts's tempos are a bit slower that Ashkenazy's, but his technical skill is just as profound. The overall mood of his performance is one of earthiness and warm humanity, certainly suitable to Beethoven's late language in variation form. The overall structure holds together very well, as Roberts has both dynamics and dramatic changes well in hand. I loved the performance of the Eroica Variations, too. It is a 1983 recording, closer up than that of the Diabellis but still very pleasant. Roberts's technical skill here is matched by his high spirits, so appropriate to a work based on such a lively theme for variations. Make no mistake about it, Roberts is a major Beethoven pianist on a par with much more famous colleagues. I will be returning to these recordings over and over."-David Saemann
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