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Beethoven Diabelli Variations



"The Diabelli Variations stands as one of the zeniths in keyboard writing. It is one of Beethoven's late works, but one in which h seems to look back over his artistic life not with angst or trauma, but with a wise, clever and witty humour. In fact it is humour that dances through the work, with only a few interjections of plaintive and dark emotion, and innocent reflection. This isn't a piece of heavy drama -it's Beethoven with his arms wide open, giving us a wise, benevolent and humorous hug! The Appassionata Sonata contrasts perfectly -it's darker Beethoven altogether, a more neurotic and anxious work." Nick van Bloss

Nick van Bloss was born in London and began piano lessons at the age of 11. His musical training began as a chorister at Westminster Abbey and he entered the Royal College of Music at the age of 15 as a Junior, attending full time from the age of 17, studying with Yonty Solomon and winning prizes for his playing. Further studies were with Benjamin Kaplan. In 1987, on hearing him play, the great Russian virtuoso, Tatiana Nikoleyeva, on her first ever trip out of the Soviet Union, described van Bloss as the ‘finished article of a pianist’.

Beethoven Diabelli Variations


“The playing is impeccable, and so are such details as the amount of silence left between variations – enough so that each makes its mark but momentum is maintained… on balance the Diabelli Variations is not only the main work but also the main reason you will want to hear this disc. There is a good booklet, with that interesting interview with the pianist and full notes on the Variations, and the usual excellent Nimbus piano sound.” Roy Westbrook,

'From its bounding, swinging theme onwards, this Diabelli is a wonderfully fresh, effervescent sequence of variations. Nick van Bloss won high praise for his Bach Goldbergs, and this Beethoven is equally urgent in its desire to communicate. Speeds are on the fast side: you sense Beethoven pushing at the bounds of logic with van Bloss following him all the way to the edge – scutteringly fast in variations two and 10, jokingly eccentric in 13 and 21, an occasional sense of frenetic hurrying stilled by the balm of the quiet fugal variation 24 and the inner peace of variations 29 to 31. After the huge fugue of variation 30, the set evaporates; but van Bloss cleverly follows it with a pounding Appassionata Sonata, scarcely subtle but very exciting.' **** The Guardian, May 2015

'Van Bloss seems at ease withy the technical hurdles in the faster variations, and his love of putting a shine on the notes in the slower variations never holds back the tempo.' Pianist Magazine, June 2015

'Nick van Bloss is a natual musician, and there are moments in his performance of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations particularly in the more intimate numbers, where his gift for bringing out the variegated layers of the music's textures serves him well.' BBC Music Magazine, August 2015

'Nick van Bloss's supple precision brings out the shifting accents of Var 2's alternating hand patterns with expressive economy.' Gramophone, August 2015

'Superbly recorded and performed, generous is timing and content, this is one of the most recommendable Diabelli Variations currently available. The Apassionata is much more than just a bonus…' Dominy Clements,

 'How lucky are we to hear such a personal and refreshing performance of both the Diabelli Variations and the Appassionata. Nick van Bloss’s playing is fluid, extremely transparent, non-sentimental, yet always gripping by its rhythmic force.' Supersonic Pizzicato:

'If an intellectual approach to the Diabelli threatens to turn off some listeners, fear not. Bloss has enough zing in his playing to hold the listener’s attention. His Appassionata is a strong effort that adds substantially to this well-filled disc. It should disappoint no-one and competes well with many other fine performances.' American Record Guide