What was your reaction when producer Brendan Ward first put the Diabelliproject to you?
I was a bit in awe of it because the piece is incredibly complex. But I had a feeling that this would be the challenge of a lifetime and this ultimately swayed me. It’s an enormous project. What makes it so complex is the fact that, in a very short space of time, you’re dealing with every imaginable difficulty Beethoven could possibly have included in a piece of music.
After doing the sonatas and then the concertos did you have any trepidation about this recording?
Doing the sonatas was a bit like climbing Mount Everest, so I was looking for the next high mountain. It was good to have another life-affirming challenge brought into my working life.
Had you played the Diabellisbefore?
No, I’d never attempted it. I’ve owned the music all my life so I was acquainted with it, but I wasn’t seriously approaching it. I always thought if I ever played it, it had to be done for a special moment, and this was it.
How many pianists have recorded the Diabelli Variations?
No one in Australia, and probably about 20 to 25 around the world I would...