Edmund Battersby

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

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Hats off, gentlemen, an original idea! American pianist Edmund Battersby has released not one but a pair of performances of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations: one on a modern Steinway and the other on a replica of a Graf fortepiano. Why did he do it? According to the liner notes, "Battersby's original thesis was to prove that perhaps this great work was less abstract and more instrumental than originally perceived." What's the final effect? A pair of performances that are much more instrumental and far less abstract and very, very impressive. On either the modern Steinway or the Graf replica, Battersby is a wonderful player: brightly virtuosic and interpretively alert to the nuances of the music. On either instrument, Battersby's technique responds to each's specific qualities: the sustain of the modern Steinway or the articulation of the Graf replica, the depth of modern Steinway or the brilliance of the Graf replica. He is also anything but an abstract interpreter -- the intellectual approach of Brendel or Pollini is not for him. Instead, Battersby finds the humor and the tragedy, the sorrow and the joy, the wit and wisdom, in a word, the humanity of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. While this should not be the only recording of the work one ever hears -- the magisterial Schnabel, the magnificent Backhaus, the stupendous Richter, the monumental Serkin, and perhaps even the intellectual Brendel or Pollini performances are mandatory -- for listeners who already know and love the work, Battersby's original idea and deeply human performance will be thoroughly appealing. Naxos' sound is better than usual, rounder, warmer, and more detailed.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Variations (33) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120
1
0:50
2
1:23
3
0:47
4
1:17
5
1:04
6
0:57
7
1:36
8
1:03
9
1:33
10
1:36
11
0:36
12
1:04
13
0:59
14
1:10
15
3:29
16
0:37
17
1:55
18
1:34
19
0:53
20
2:21
21
1:14
22
0:51
23
0:54
24
3:02
25
0:50
26
1:14
27
0:59
28
0:55
29
1:29
30
1:35
31
4:23
32
3:07
33
4:12

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Variations (33) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120
1
0:50
2
1:22
3
0:48
4
1:17
5
1:03
6
0:52
7
1:33
8
1:03
9
1:32
10
1:37
11
0:35
12
1:04
13
0:56
14
1:06
15
3:24
16
0:36
17
1:56
18
1:29
19
0:53
20
2:13
21
1:11
22
0:50
23
0:56
24
2:57
25
0:51
26
1:16
27
0:59
28
0:56
29
1:26
30
1:33
31
4:13
32
3:11
33
4:00
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