Autumn Passion Reviews

Autumn Passion: Beethoven Three Great Sonatas, World Wide Home Run – FanFare – Jerry Dubins –

Autumn Passion: Beethoven Retrospective, Three Great Sonatas One Encore


Despite the album design, which appears to have been entrusted to an adolescent Arctic Monkeys fan, this is a serious and significant release by a serious and significant artist, performing serious and significant music, and it’s far from being what’s often described deprecatingly as a vanity release.

   Dieppa’s…in Beethoven…Passion…

     American Record Guide, Kang Feb.2015

Roberto McCausland Dieppa is a Colombian-born pianist, composer, and conductor with a Doctorate of Music in Liszt studies and credits from the Eastman School of Music. In recognition of his special attention to Liszt and Bartók, Dieppa was awarded the Pro-Arte Prize by the Ministry of Culture of Hungary

Extensive touring has taken Dieppa to Europe, Latin America, Japan, India, the UK, Australia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S., where he played for a full house at Carnegie Hall, the first Colombian pianist to do so successfully. His piano repertoire and recordings include music of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, and Mompou, as well as Latin-American and Spanish contemporary composers. 

The immediate question that comes to mind about this release is whether there’s really a need or a place for another version of Beethoven’s “big three” piano sonatas, each of which has at least 300 recordings. The answer is a resounding yes, when they’re played as they are here by Roberto McCausland Dieppa, for he gives us some of the finest, most insightful readings of these scores I’ve heard. 

    …The Pianist shows a firm command of the sonatas’ varied challenges…

  Gramaphone, Nov. 2014 – Rosenberg

Everything Dieppa does is in moderation. Tempos in fast movements are not slow, but they’re not rushed or pushed. Unlike Fazil Say, Dieppa is not on a kamikaze mission to prove his bravery. If anything, he is a bit on the self-effacing side, resisting the temptation to make the music about him instead of about Beethoven. The result is performances of clarity, transparency, and revelation of felicitous details that allow the notes to speak for themselves.For example, listen to how meticulously Dieppa observes the  poco ritardando marking in bar 12 of the “Appassionata” Sonata (not counting the quarter of a bar upbeat at the beginning). Beethoven then supplies his own dramatic flourish at the a tempo a bar later. There’s no need for exaggeration; it’s built into the score. 

   …the opening of Appassionata is astounding in its depth and richness…

 American Record Guide, Kang  Feb. 2015

This is just one of countless points at which Dieppa’s respectful approach to these works yields a refreshing perspective on Beethoven’s vision, one cleansed of the interpretive accretions of 200 years of performance practices. Dieppa’s Beethoven comes about as close to echt Beethoven as I think I’ve heard. Needless to say, all repeats are observed. 

Moreover, there’s fluidity to Dieppa’s touch and an apperception of larger, long-range rhythmic patterns that go beyond a single bar or phrase, which contribute to a sense of inevitability in the unfolding of the musical organism. Too, I should mention the gorgeous tone Dieppa draws from his Baldwin grand, which was beautifully recorded at a location undisclosed by the poorly documented album note and credits. 

   …incredible sensitivity to dynamics…

American Record Guide, Kang Feb. 2015

Though I personally received a physical CD for review, as of this writing in late September 2014, I’ve only been able to find this release available in download form at Amazon, CDBaby, and Rhapsody. However, I have been informed, pre-going-to-press, that by the time you read this the CD will be available at ArkivMusic. In whatever form you find it, Dieppa’s Beethoven is an experience not to be missed. Jerry Dubins January/February2015 Fanfare Magazine