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Reicha’s L’art de varier (1804) is an expansive work that demands a performer immersed in his music, and none fit the bill more than Ilić, whose care and devotion shine through every note. His translucent sound is ideal for this repertoire.

The diversity of Reicha’s writing is huge, ranging from the Haydnesque to a world far beyond. In places, he even seems to out- Beethoven Beethoven (try the low trills in Variation 21). Ili´c is superb in the ‘Marcia funèbre’ (Variation 31) and finds exquisite charm in the Minuetto (Variation 40), while the unexpected staccato demisemiquavers in the siciliano-like Andante (Variation 46) are wonderfully quirky. He triumphs in the final Presto, which leaves no space for error.

Reicha eschews cumulative Beethovenian directionality in favour of a more exploratory journey, repeatedly holding up the theme to see where the light falls. Indeed, illumination is key both to Reicha’s processes and Ili´c’s playing. This is not the work’s first recording but it is the most authoritative.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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