Reicha Rediscovered, Vol. 3 / Ivan Ilic
For this his third volume of works by Antoine Reicha, the pianist Ivan Ilic turns to one of the composer’s most extraordinary works, L’Art de varier, Op. 57. ‘The Art of Variation’ consists of fifty-seven variations on a theme (that the number of variations match the opus number is not a coincidence) and was composed in 1802 – 03, at the beginning of the six-year period which Reicha spent in Vienna, where he studied with Haydn and re-kindled his previous friendship with Beethoven. The set is remarkable for its scale and invention. Ivan Ilic describes the work as the missing link between Bach’s ‘Goldberg’ Variations and Beethoven’s ‘Diabelli’ Variations, which was certainly influenced by Reicha’s work. The recording was made at Potton Hall in Suffolk, on a Steinway Model D grand piano.
For almost 90 minutes [Reicha] subjects a simple, songful theme to the most kaleidoscopic imaginable treatment, and – thanks in part to the freshness and clarity of Ilić’s playing – the wonder is that I don’t get bored. The first variation is a demure little embroidery on the theme, and the second thunders in Beethovenian style. Then, after establishing these polarities, he’s off on a voyage full of drama and incident. Reicha’s invention never flags for a moment.
– BBC Music Magazine (5 out of stars)
Catalog Number: CHAN 20194
Number of Discs: 1