Well, the freshness and power of Dénes Várjon’s playing and his obvious sympathy for these unique sound world makes every gesture compelling, alluring and eloquent….The CD is a fascinating reverse traversal of the half-century that took us from late romantic passion to 20th century modernism, and the playing and recording grab the ears with impulsive immediacy.
Andrew Mc Gregor, BBC Radio 3
I have never been disappointed by anything I have heard on the ECM New Series imprint, and Dénes Várjon’s Precipitando is no exception. It is an excellent disc on a multitude of levels, and well worth checking out.
Greg Barbrick, Blinded By Sound
And from the very start of the CD, the luminous playing of the opening of Berg’s Sonata Op.1 tells us this is a pianist of rare sensitivity. The word seems almost to float in this performance, continually remaking itself from moment to moment and never come to rest. […] Varjón ranges through the music as if mapping an unknown landscape. […] All in all, a very impressive and intelligently planned programme.
Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine
It is rare to hear such jaw-dropping virtuosity placed so modestly and so intuitively at the service of music. Nothing is rushed for the sake of mere excitement, and Varjón’s freshness and technical control make for a hugely compelling recital as well as for individual performances that are well-nigh unbeatable on disc.
Guy Weatherall, Classical Music
Várjon makes rigorous sense of the work’s [Liszt’s Sonata in B minor] episodic structure, showing powerful ease in the fugue but enjoying the rhapsodic nature of the rest. The Liszt is preceded by two later works influenced by it: Berg’s one-movement Sonata Op 1 and Janácek’s In the Mists. Várjon is always perceptive as a chamber musician. It’s a treat to hear him alone.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
Negotiating dynamic shifts of emphasis, Várjon displays that most valuable of gifts: the ability to play in a way which makes you listen anew to the familiar.
Andy Gill, The Independent
I feel as though I have been waiting for this disc for 40 years. In that time I have accumulated countless version of Liszt’s B minor Piano Sonata, one of the greatest musical creations of the 19th century. […]Dénes Várjon, the Hungarian pianist, has produced an extraordinary version that is imperative for devotees of the piece. He has all the power, passion, poetry and steely virtuosity you would expect but it’s the thinking that does it. Várjon introduces huge points of articulation in the structure. He is unafraid to open vast spaces between paragraphs and sections. The technique expands the epic proportions of the sonata but, crucially, doesn’t slow it down or interrupt the flow. This is a monumental version of the masterpiece.
Michael Tumelty, Sunday Herald