Diabelli Variations (2010)


Gary Cooper

he decision to use a historic Viennese instrument for this recording - built in the very year Beethoven completed his Diabelli Variations – is, in one sense, self-explanatory. Newly & magnificently restored by Edwin Beunk, the Walter und Sohn grand piano featured here is both a beautiful & charming instrument. In approaching the timeless, expansive sound world of Beethoven's late, great works, any piano is constantly tested; historic instruments not far off two hundred years old additionally so! This is the first commercial recording, to my knowledge, which attempts to place this particular masterpiece firmly in the sound-world of the early 1820s, when it was conceived and first played. In the process of doing so, previously hidden colours and textures may well be revealed to the listener: for pianos of this period have everything to do with colour, while at the same time having very little to do with sheer power, brilliance of clarity, or a capacity to sustain effortlessly: the sound-world to which we are mostly accustomed in the C21st. Therefore, the challenge to both instrument and performer using historic pianos is appreciably great (including occasional moments of audible pedal & action noise, for which I ask the listener's patience and understanding) but I feel well worth the effort, since only additional rewards can be attained in serving to illuminate areas of this immense, mystical, timeless work of art from differing perspectives.

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Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper is an English conductor and classical keyboardist who specializes in the harpsichord and fortepiano. He is known as an interpreter of the keyboard music of Bach and Mozart, and as a conductor of historically informed performances of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.Gary Cooper studied organ and harpsichord at Chetham's School of Music, the John Loosemore Centre, and was an organ scholar at New College, Oxford, where he graduated with First Class Honours. In 1990 while still a student at Oxford, he co-founded the New Chamber Opera, and has conducted many of their performances, including a complete recording of Rameau's cantatas and a new production of Handel's rarely performed opera, Orlando, at Sadler's Wells Theatre in 2006.

Between 1992 and 2000, he was a member of the baroque ensemble, Trio Sonnerie, with whom he performed regularly throughout Europe and the United States. Cooper made his Wigmore Hall solo recital debut on 1 December 2000 with a performance of Bach's complete Well-Tempered Clavier, and has frequently appeared as a recitalist both in the UK and in Europe. Several of his performances have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, including his 22 November 2004 recital at the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall in Manchester and his 29 January 2006 Wigmore Hall performance of Mozart's sonatas for piano and violin with violinist Rachel Podger, broadcast live as part of the European Broadcasting Union's Mozart Day.Gary Cooper has conducted for many ensembles including, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Hanover Band, and English Touring Opera (Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Handel's Alcina). He also teaches harpsichord and fortepiano at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Birmingham Conservatoire, and is Visiting Professor of fortepiano at the Royal College of Music.

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Diabelli Variations (2010)


Gary Cooper

    Dagblad van het Noorden

een primeur die veel genoegen biedt want Cooper maakt van alle 34 variaties kleine karakterstukjes en werkt evengoed met structuur als met kleur.


een solist van allure (…) hij sleept de luisteraar mee op zijn tocht door de altijd weer verbazende variaties (…) de eerste ‘Diabelli’ cd gespeeld op een topinstrument uit Beethovens tijd. Editors Choice


Bij Cooper heb je het gevoel over de schouder van de componist mee te luisteren naar de ontdekking van de noten. (…)


De Engelse klavecinist en fortepianist Gary Cooper speelt dit werk indrukwekkend, hij treft het karakter van de verschillende variaties feilloos en beheerst het instrument qua aanslag en virtuositeit volkomen. (…)

    Audiophile Audition

Cooper is able to exploit the colors of the instrument to such an extent that the resulting sounds are often pleasingly exotic to ears accustomed to the modern grand. (...) Channel Classics’ recording, set down in a Dutch church, seems to reproduce Cooper’s instrument faithfully and with just the right touch of resonance to give it a healthy glow, if not an outright sheen.


Selten führt eine Kombination von Werk, Instrument und Interpret zu einem solch perfekten und beglückenden Ergebnis. Bernhard Schrammek,

    Klassieke Zaken

Hij toont met deze opname aan dat Beethoven geen geheimen meer voor hem kent (...) iedere harmonische verkleuring vormt een verrassing. (...)


Cooper zorgt voor bijna vijf kwartier pianogenot. Voortreffelijke registratie van hoge klasse!


Die vielfältige Klangwelt, die dieses Klavier eröffnet, eignet sich hervorragend für die Präsentation der Variationen. Die leisen Geräusche der Tasten und Pedale tragen ihren eigenen Charme zur Gesamtwirkung bei und stören den Eindruck in keiner Weise. (...) Daher erscheinen viele Variationen lebendiger als in anderen Aufnahmen und tatsächlich wie aus einer anderen Perspektive betrachtet. Besonders Auffällig ist der Klang der fünfzehnten Variation, der sehr gedämpft erscheint, wodurch aber auch die folgenden Variationen noch einmal deutlich abheben und somit ein Höhepunkt hörbar wird. (...) Cooper hebt in einigen Variationen bestimmte Themenausschnitte durch einen stärken Anschlag hervor, wodurch die Struktur des Werkes deutlich wird. (...) Cooper versucht die Klarheit dieser Bagatellen nicht mit übertriebener Differenzierung, betonter Dynamik oder extremer Spielweise zu verändern, sondern lässt die musikalische Substanz ‘für sich’ klingen.

Diabelli Variations (2010)


Gary Cooper

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Daniel Grimwood
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Deventer Holland 2010
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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29110: Diabelli Variations
01:13:31   Select quality & channels above
33 Variations in C on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op.120
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6 Bagatelles, Op.126
00:18:31   Select quality & channels above

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