Diapason d'or / Arte -
Le Choix de France Musique -
5 étoiles de Classica
A soloist and revelation at the French classical music award ceremony “Victoires de la musique classique 2018”, Sélim Mazari was one of the last pupils to study under Brigitte Engerer, before attending the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris with Claire Désert and then moving to London to start a second Master’s degree at the Royal College. For his first solo recording, the young French pianist has opted for an album which is entirely devoted to Beethoven, recording several cycles of variations, with or without opus numbers, including the difficult “Eroica” Variations, on a theme from the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, which he takes up again in the form of a contra-dance and, of course, as the main theme of the Finale from the composer’s forthcoming Third Symphony. Beethoven’s works without opus numbers (WoO) are more numerous than those numbered by himself or his publishers. During his youth as a virtuoso-composer, he did not approach his works with the historical perspective he would gain later in life, perhaps aware of his growing reputation and genius. The Twelve Variations on a Theme by Paul Wranitzky from 1796 already heralded the maturity and complexity that Beethoven gave to the many variations that would punctuate his entire oeuvre. Though not exactly loved by the composer, the 32 Variations in C minor are nevertheless profoundly original and allowed the young Beethoven to impress his audiences in the salons.
The Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 34 from 1802 offered a “new” way for Beethoven to free himself from his predecessors. The “Eroica” Variations occupy a dominant position in the Beethovian catalogue thanks to their pleasant, dramatic, humorous and mysterious atmospheres. © François Hudry / Qobuz