As Mr. Bonsor correctly states the Variations have today more or less become Dohnanyi's calling card; still, it isn't exactly abundantly repressented in the catalogues. I was always happy with the disc made by the late Earl Wild (plus the New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi, the composer's grandson) - and I very much still am. This new version, however, purely apart from being splendedly recorded, benefits from a veritable cornucopia of emotions ranging all the way from the coquettishly lighthearted to the morosely serious, and, as an added bonus, it very cogently demonstrates Dohnanyi's indebtedness to Richard Strauss, whose "Burlesque" the Variations at times resemble to the point of pastiche.
Eldar Nebolsin once again proves himself to be an excellent pianist indeed. His Chopin recordings have already provided many a fine illumination, and his performance on this disc deserves nothing but the highest praise. Sir Georg Solti, during his student days a pupil of Dohnanyi at the Budapest School of Music, often descibed him as brilliant - but also the laziest pianist he knew. Solti took paticular delight in an anecdote from one of Dohnanyi's foreign tours, during which in three consecutive performances of a Beethoven concerto he lost his way at the exact same spot and had to improvise the rest of the movement. Leaving the stage the third night he was, allegedly, heard murmuring: "I should probably take the time some day to learn that piece." Dohnanyi may not have known his Beethoven, but Nebolsin sure knows his Dohnanyi - in and out.
The Symphonic Minutes and the Suite are rarely played but thoroughly delightful works, well worth the attention. JoAnn Faletta's direction is full to the brim with passion as well as an admirable attention to detail.
A feast for all senses - warmly recommended.