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Michael Church
BBC Music Magazine, March 2015


Idil Biret brings a warmer, more poised, less pressured approach to those [Paganini] variations; guided by Brahms’s two-piano versions of the symphonies, she creates impressive solo versions. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2014

Idil Biret recalls that from being a child she had made piano arrangements of symphonic scores by listening to recordings, and then playing it on the piano. Her performance of the Third Symphony is unhurried, and is more interested in shaping the music by inserting rubatos than in a simple recreation of the printed orchestral score. After her powerful account of the opening Allegro con brio, where she reminds us of the composer’s First Piano Concerto, maybe the third movement needed to be a little faster, though I much enjoy the mysterioso opening to the finale, the weighty central section unfolding in spacious mode. The Fourth follows much the same expansive and affectionate approach, the opening Allegro non troppo more lyrical than we usually encounter; the second movement both unaffected and gentle and acts as a foil to her happy view of the scherzo. The gravity that contours the finale is intense, the transcription at times seemingly requiring three hands. The discs then turn to transcriptions by Brahms of Six Hungarian Dances and the Paganini Variations, the latter often played at white heat and is quite exhilarating. The Symphony and Hungarian Dance recordings come from concert performances in France in the 1990s, with the Paganini Variations from New York in 1972. There are articulation errors you find on such occasions, but it is most interesting to encounter Biret’s transcriptions. The recordings are of a ‘live’ concert quality, the Hungarian Dances from the Lille Festival being the outstanding section. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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