Label: harmonia mundi
Andreas Staier (fortepiano)
BEETHOVEN: Diabelli Variations
Gramophone Editor's Choice - August 2012
In 1819, music publisher and composer Anton Diabelli sent a waltz of his own creation to all the important composers of the Austrian Empire, asking each of them to write a variation on it. His plan was to publish the variations in a patriotic volume called Vaterländischer Künstlerverein and to use the profits to benefit orphans and widows of the Napoleonic Wars. Beethoven chose to write not just a single variation, but a set of thirty-three. His audacious submission, the Diabelli Variations, has since become one of the most revered examples of the genre. On this fascinating disc, pianist Andreas Staier, playing a fortepiano after Conrad Graf, pairs Beethoven's magnum opus with a selection of the other works based upon Diabelli's waltz. Here you can discover the very first stirrings of Liszt's virtuosity (aged eleven), the music of Mozart's son, variations by Kreutzer, Kalkbrenner and even the great Franz Schubert. This fascinating album sheds welcome new light on both the music and the milieu of Beethoven's timeless masterpiece.