Friday, January 25, 2013

Awards 2012 - Solo Instrumental

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
Andreas Staier
Harmonia Mundi

This album got the highest average score of all and is therefore the Recording of the Year.
"I have several recordings of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. It is a work that I have long appreciated but this latest disc from Andreas Staier stands out. First, it's the most infectiously joyous recording I have of the Diabellis. At times, Staier's performance makes me almost want to get up and dance... Second, this recording is made on a fortepiano, with delicious, rich sound, which brings back the music as Beethoven heard it - or would have, if his hearing were better. Finally, this disc includes not only Beethoven's variations, but also a selection of variations from other composers." - Kirk McElhearn, MusicWeb International.
"Staier's perfectly judged tempi, angular demeanour, characterful contrasts, biting accents and cumulative sweep add up to a performance that abounds with probing details yet never loses sight of the music's grand design... This is far and away the most stimulating and best-played fortepiano Diabelli Variations on compact disc." - Jed Distler, Gramophone.

Schubert: Piano sonatas D840, D850, D894, etc. Paul Lewis [Harmonia Mundi]
Liszt: Années de Pèlerinage. Bertrand Chamayou [Naive]
Mozart: Keyboard music, volume 3. Kristian Bezuidenhout [Harmonia Mundi]
"Fantasia". Yuja Wang [DG]

Given the traditional dominance of the piano in the Solo Instrumental category, it's nice to see some little progress, in the shape of two recordings on fortepiano (Bezuidenhout's is the other). Also noteworthy is the fact that Harmonia Mundi has three of the five albums here.

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