I find this DVD remarkable. I have around twenty recordings of the Diabelli Variations, and have heard countless others, but this is the one that I feel showcases the brilliance of Beethoven's vision. While I find other pianists wonderful in the later variations, I tend to hear a sequence of miniatures. With Anderszewski however, there is a profound sense of connection from the very beginning, as all of the variations are unified into one grand whole.
Beethoven uses a huge variety of compositional techinques in these variations, and at times the high degree of abstraction can make the connection to the original theme tenuous; at least at the surface level. However the theme provides the unifying factor, even when it only maintains a ghostly presence. As Anderszewski points out on the DVD, these variations are really transformations, and by articulating the variety of connections to the original theme, it is then clear how the theme is transformed. This process is what drives the piece, and here it is allowed to take precedence over other considerations.
There are many wonderful performances of this great masterpiece, but for me this is the one that shows why the Diabelli Variations may just be Beethoven's ultimate achievement. There is simply nothing like it.