Sunday, April 15, 2012

Andreas Staier Beethoven Diabelli Variations Harmunia Mundi 2012

Street Date 05/08/12
Punctuated with a dynamic lyricism while attempting to draw musical connections between various works, Andrea Staier plays sonic detective like no one else. Staier has garnered world wide acclaim for his recording of the Goldberg's as well as his CPE Bach keyboard concertos and has now raised the bar for those to follow with perhaps the most demanding sets of variations in history with the Diabelli Variations.

Not content to merely attempt what many consider the Beethoven Holy Grail as Staier looks for compositional clues outside the magnum opus. This particular recording opens with variations from some fifty other composers Diabelli also asked to join in this most auspicious musical event. The first visceral encounters with the virtuosity of Liszt. the music of Mozart's son and the surprising variations of Kreutzer and Kalkbrenner and the Diabelli Variation of Franz Schubert are but a delight to the uninitiated.

Working from the original manuscipt allows this musical  introspection of sonic clues to take shape and shed welcome light if not much forgotten attention on Beethoven's timeless masterpiece. The piano used for this recording is a modern forte piano styled after one used by the legendary Conrad Graf.

Punctuated with a vibrant and buoyant expression that similar pianists have gracefully sidestepped, Andrea Staier embraces this sonic challenge as an artistic embellishment of the musical spirit. A rare display on an emotionally charged virtuosity seldom seen when approaching this particular work. Pristine sound quality, stirring artistry and a rare glimpse at a virtually flawless recording of a seldom attempted Beethoven work.