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Alan Becker
American Record Guide, May 2013

[Idil Biret’s] technique is brilliant…young lioness showering us with spectacle as only youth can do. Listen to the first several Paganini Variations and prepare to have your jaw drop in awe.

The Handel Variations are another matter. The music makes greater strides towards profundity. Her pedal is minimal, and her articulation both amazing and as vivid as shards of light fired from a laser gun.

…add this to your collection. You will never regret it. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2013

One of the most highly regarded releases in Idil Biret’s younger years came with this Brahms coupling originally issued on the Vega label in 1962. She had already shown in her previous disc the instinctive sense of freedom that both works require, while never allowing her imagination to alter the shape of each variation. From the standpoint of technique, the performance of the Paganini does not come any better than this. The sheer clarity of the demanding variations—such as the first and second in the first book, and the sixth and seventh of book two—are just a few examples, while the more playful ones of the first book—and Biret certainly does make them playful—are played with such crystalline quality. I enjoyed the Handel, yet she brings an element of mischief that I doubt Brahms intended, though you cannot doubt her musical integrity throughout. There are other recorded versions which make a more profound effect, but I would still be happy to have this disc as my library version of both works. The disc’s playing time is very short, as it represents just the content of the original LP. © 2013 David’s Review Corner

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