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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Idil Biret’s Rachmaninov recital here brings a powerful yet poetic reading of the Chopin Variations, one of Rachmannov’s finest piano works, coupled with miniatures and rarities including many rare early pieces. Biret’s reading of the Variations, a work seriously neglected, brings out the high dramatic contrasts, cleanly establishing the character of each section and setting the while structure (overall almost sonata-like) in relief. The fill-ups include an unpretentious little piece, Lento, that Rachmaninov wrote at thirteen, and demonstrations of his prowess in writing counterpoint, untypical but crisply refreshing. Excellent sound to bring out the subtleties of Biret’s tonal shading.

Richard Dyer
The Boston Globe, February 2002

"The Turkish pianist Idil Biret is the kind of brainy pianist one would not necessarily associate with Rachmaninoff. Trained in Paris by Alfred Cortot and Nadia Boulanger and in Positano, Italy, by Wilhelm Kempff, Biret is the most interesting and sophisticated of the 'house pianists' on the budget Naxos label, where she has made the best recording to date of the complete sonatas of Pierre Boulez and recorded the complete piano music of Brahms and Chopin. Now she is finishing up her complete Rachmaninoff, music she plays with dignity, taste, emotion, and considerable musical and pianistic sophistication. Rachmaninoff's 'Corelli Variations' have entered the virtuoso recital repertory, but the "Variations on the Theme of Chopin" ("the C-Minor Prelude) scares off even the best pianists - it lasts more than half an hour and it is both technically and musically demanding. Biret is more than equal to the challenges, and in meeting and surpassing them she makes a strong case for the work as one of Rachmaninoff's greatest. Biret fills out the disc with some very early works (a "Song Without Words" written when the composer was 13; some exercises in canon and fugue; two extra 'Preludes'; some fragments; and a 1940 revision of a "Moment Musical" written 44 years earlier. Biret's elegant pianism makes Rachmaninoff's workbench a very interesting place to visit."

Edward Bhesania
International Record Review, March 2000

"The Variations are striking for Biret's sheer capability; not just an impressively robust technical facility, but a vivid and involving reading to match. ...the recorded piano sound is wide and open throughout...the disc represents a rare combination of Rachmaninov's smaller works, and a thoroughly recommendable Chopin Variations."

Jessica Duchen
BBC Music Magazine, February 2000

"Idil Biret performs... with tremendous flair and power. A delight"

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