Mr. Scott L. Leather | Tucson, AZ United States | 12/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was familiar with Anderszewski's playing from his CD of Bach Partitas and Mozart concertos, both of which I found above the norm of the exceptional young keyboard lions of today. His phrasing, nuance and dynamic control was simply above the norm of most top pianists.
However, I was simply stunned by this DVD! The playing was, how should I put it? REVELATORY! Truly, it is one of the most astonishing performances I've ever heard of ANYTHING! His maturity in the musical language of the Diabelli's is incredible for such a young artist (although he had been playing it for at least 10 years when this DVD was made). Some of the slow playing seems like it's from another world; and the fugal passages as well as the great fugue in variation 32 (before the ending variation) is fantastically musical, not just simply "Punched Out" how some artists have played it.
Bruno Monsaingeon's filming of this event is an artistic achievement in itself. This is the filmaker who made legendary films with Glenn Gould and Richter when they were alive. His method of filming the work is explained in the notes (I won't tell them here so it will make you buy the DVD). Suffice it to say, Monsaingeon's as much of an artist in his own right as Anderszewski and this DVD is the stunning result!
The only thing I would be curious to know is how much the filmaker had an influence in pauses between the variations. I would think that was Mr. Anderszewski's call and there were sometimes lengthy pauses between some variations. But it seemed artistically valid and thought out for overall effect by the pianist (and filmaker? that's what I don't know). Anyway, I'll end this review by echoing what was in the liner notes: namely that this recording should do for Mr. Anderszewski's reputation what the Goldberg's did for Gould. That's how good this is! GET IT!"
W. Parr | San Diego, Ca USA | 09/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On every level of evaluation, this DVD could not be bettered. It is simply state-of-the-art: from musical conception (Beethoven's genius) to execution (masterful interpretation by Anderszewski); documented & edited flawlessly by Bruno Monsaingeon in high-definition & digital audio; finally presented by Virgin Classics in 16:9 & DD/DTS 5.1 in what results as a stunning achievement.
yeah, i think i'll keep it."
Like he is not there
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 08/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Seeing the performance of the Variations/Transformations here on Diabelli's quaint little naive tune that Beethoven turned,transformed,transmogrified into a great piece of art is an astonishment, greater astonishment still, well creating art is in the performance/interpretation of it.
Prior to the uninterrupted performance Anderszewski speaks well of this work in truly basic commonplace ideas,but excitement is a pre-requisite on this "voyage" as he says, that it is a 'transformation', the subtitle of the music, "these are not variations" he says "but transformations".A word I liked that he used was "tortured", it shows a perverse side to the great Master Signifier, that darkness is there someplace, our job is to discover it, and Anderszewski I don't think does, he seems to float above the work, the playing doesn't seem to come from a deep place,perhaps modernity has done this to what is very old music, as Hegel said someplace, anything that cannot be understood today, ceases to exist, and we can never know what Beethoven thought,what's the context of the work, well that it speaks forever? even if we enter this "phanthom" world that music transports one across borders conceptual boundaries and time. Anderszewski certainly also makes this piece of art his own, he has a third person like presence in his playing,there doesn't seem to be a "voice" inside directing the proceeedings, and perhaps this is not always the best approach; like he is really not even there, there is less a dimension of conviction,and in Beethoven that is difficult to eradicate.For all Beethoven represented was conviction of purpose to art,to music to the "IDEA" working it through, the state of "Becoming" I think Anderszewski likes the more "floating" schwebend", moments of this set, flying away. His tone is brittle,bright, strident and this at times could have been the piano timbre itself, where pains were takened to re-tune it and fix the gradations of eveness/uneven-ness in the timbre, "like taming a beast" said one technician. But there is a dimension of disquiet in the playing here, it is not the music, for I've heard Pollini,Rzewski,Brendel and Kempf play these "transformations".I think overall Anderszewski's playing lacks some part not all of the vision the piece is capable of suggesting, that's not his(Piotr's) fault, for such a large piece encompassing music, but something was lacking, obviously nothing technical,but imparting something "else" to the music not previously heard. When moments of power are required for example it seems to be only in the brightness of sound, not in gesture, for the gestures seem to be always the same.Then again balance is the magical key, for too much overbearing arrogant-ness doesn't work either."
I. Martinez-Ybor | Miami, FL USA | 09/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an extract of an email I sent a friend when this item was first issued on VHS:
"Have you seen or listened the video of Piotr Andrezewski doing the Diabelli? It's quite good..... and the video (dir. by Bruno Monsaingeon and distributed by VAI) gives him the opportunity to introduce and illustrate the music before his uninterrupted, captivating performance of the piece. There is a very clever spot where, to suggest connections between the Diabelli and other late Beethoven, Piotr begins to play a contrapuntal passage from the Missa Solemnis on the piano ..... beautifully transcribed.... (I bet some more of it could be structured as a piano transcription, akin to Lizst's views on the symphonies..) Imperceptibly at first, the orchestra/chorus parts gradually come in on the appropriate piano lines, with the audio mix first emphasizing the piano and finally allowing the piano to be absorbed by the glorious, fully realized score ..... It's a gem...... and speaks volumes on the quality of this video.
Andrezewski's introduction to the piece is intelligent, keen and accessible. He is most charming and articulate, whether in English or French, in and out of both, properly subtitled for English only speakers. The performance of the Diabelli is masterful....much thought and study have obviously gone into it, yet passion, poetry and wit are not compromised. The Diabelli is a difficult piece to put accross. Piotr totally succeeds. Picture and sound are quite fine. Get it."
Now, several years later, I got the DVD, and, have no reason to change a word I wrote above, except to add that all the expected gains of the DVD medium are realized.