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A Neat Idea

Edmund Battersby
plays Beethoven on
piano and fortepiano -
reviewed by

'... it's fascinating to hear the two side-by-side ...'

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations Op 120 - Edmund Battersby, fortepiano and piano. © 2005 Naxos Rights International Ltd

Here's a neat idea -- two performances of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations by American pianist Edmund Battersby. On disc one he plays a 1997 copy of an 1825 Conrad Graf piano, on disc two a 1976 Steinway D model. Interestingly, the Steinway performance is a minute quicker than the other. Nothing in the actual playing in the first performance suggests a deliberate holding back -- was he perhaps consciously resisting the temptation to speed up offered by the earlier instrument's lighter action?

Battersby offers a thoughtful reading, switching mood neatly from lyricism to impish wit, transcendent calm to driving energy, though he does perhaps tend to down-play the broader aspects of Beethoven's sense of humour. Unless otherwise specified, comments on individual variations apply to both performances.

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Copyright © 23 May 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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