Though it might seem odd to see Stephen Kovacevich's recording of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations on the Onyx label rather than EMI, the label that issued his recordings of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, it should not deter any listener from seeking it out. Kovacevich's Diabelli is every bit as recommendable as his sonata recordings. As always with Kovacevich, technical matters are never an issue, and the tone he elicits from his piano is as beautiful as ever. Kovacevich also possesses an uncanny sympathy for Beethoven's music, which leads him to turn up every emotional nuance and find full depth in each variation. Humor, pathos, serenity, fun, and despair all get their time in the sun. Coupled with a bright and buoyant reading of Bach's D major Partita (BWV 828), recorded in clear and colorful digital sound, and accompanied by lucid and insightful notes by scholar Joseph Kerman, this performance will surely please anyone who has heretofore enjoyed Kovacevich's way with Beethoven.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Variations (33) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120|
|Partita for keyboard No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 (BC L4)|