British pianist Diana Boyle is not well known in Italy but is considered one of the best pianists of old Albion. Her discography reveals that her activity is established definitely around the classical period given that her interpretative focus is on Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms – a line drawn from the base of tonal language, passing through the development of the Vienna School until reaching the composer who having drawn fully on Classicism closes the door of Romanticism to open the way for modernity – a pfor the artist who lives in seclusion in southern Portugal who conducts a coherent search, reflecting and meditating, in order to establish her artistic and aural approach. And so here the two recordings we are considering represent the alpha and omega of that narrative thread of repertoire, Bach’s Goldberg Variations and a miscellanea of Brahms’s piano works.
[notes on Bach removed]
In the Brahms recording, Diana Boyle has chosen excerpts from the Op. 76, 116, 117, 118 and 119 and in this case the recordings come from over twenty years ago (October 1994). The key feature of the English pianist’s approach is more evident instability which pushes the balance towards the Romantic rather than the Classical. Also here is a tone which uses the dynamic field to create a ‘mood’ (for example in Intermezzo in E flat minor, Op. 118 No. 6 and Intermezzo in B flat major, Op. 76 No. 4. Boyle uses this ‘instability’ to invest the works with a patina of pathos (seen most in the first two Intermezzi from Op. 117 and 119) and transforming them into a recipe of sound in which the lines of a past tradition from Mozart through Beethoven come through making her interpretation of these works less ‘heterodox’ than her playing of the Bach.