Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Beethoven Variations

5 Variations in D major on Rule Britannia
15 Variations and a Fugue in E flat major on an Original Theme, Op. 35, "Eroica Variations"
Variations on a Russian Dance from Wranitzky's Das Waldmadchen
6 Variations on a Swiss Song
Variations in C major on the Romance Un fievre brulante from Gretry's Richard Coeur-de-lion
24 Variations in D major on Righini's Arietta Venni amore
7 Variations on God Save the King, WoO 78

Florian Uhlig (piano)

Hänssler Classic: HAN 98599

Spotted as exceptional by one of my reviewers in 2000, it is a pleasure to hail Florian Uhlig's development into one of the most thoughtful pianists before the public.

This is an extremely daring release, "minor" works of Beethoven (the "Eroica" variations apart) practically unknown and dismissed as unimportant. Mikhail Pletnev had included a few of them in his attractive double CD of variations, bagatelles and other miscellaneous pieces by Beethoven, but to tackle the variations (without the Diabelli) must appear as foolhardy.

Uhlig argues that they were important steps in Beethoven's search for a new idiom, and that they serve in their own right to explore diffeent kinds of material with differing national "tastes", English, Italian, Russian, German and Swiss.

Above all, they fire Uhlig's pianistic imagination all the way, gripping attention through the whole journey. His is the Beethoven of brusque, arrogant personality; big dynamic contrasts and vigorous fortes.

God Save the King has a delighfully witty, indeed very Beethovian, cadenza by Uhlig himself at the end.

Refreshing and well deserving a place in everyone's Beethoven collection.

Peter Grahame Woolf