Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Album cover art for upc 723385291107
Label: Channel Classics
Catalog: CCSSA29110
Format: SACD / CD Hybrid

Gary Cooper, fortepiano (Instrument: Anton Walter und Sohn, Vienna 1822 collection Edwin Beunk Enschede)

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations - 33 Variations in C on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op.120; Composed 1819, 1822 - 23 [First Published: Vienna, 1823] / 6 Bagatelles, Op.126; Composed 1823 - 24 [First Published: Mainz, 1825]

Beethoven & The 'Divine Arts of Imagination'
In his extensive liner notes, based on many letters and historical documents, Gary Cooper wonders why Beethoven chose to continue composing, after the onset of deafness. (...) 'I cannot imagine that I am alone in feeling both puzzled & amazed by this, as well as gratitude that he did so, since many of his very finest, most sublime works stem from this later period. (...) The key word here is imagination: while we imagine Beethoven should be pitied, I also imagine he pitied others since, through deafness, he was no longer prey to the prosaic nature of general conversation which he abhorred above all else; and in this new-found world of profound silence, his fecund imagination created nothing but unadulterated music, without reference to anyone but himself, and his maker. All great art, in Beethoven's own philosophy, is simply a process of a 'returning to the divine when achieved'.
Gary Cooper: The decision to use a historic Viennese instrument for this recording - built in the very year Beethoven completed his Diabelli Variations - is, in one sense, self-explanatory. Newly & magnificently restored by Edwin Beunk, the Walter und Sohn grand piano featured here is both a beautiful & charming instrument. In approaching the timeless, expansive sound world of Beethoven's late, great works, any piano is constantly tested; historic instruments not far off two hundred years old additionally so! This is the first commercial recording, to my knowledge, which attempts to place this particular masterpiece firmly in the sound-world of the early 1820s, when it was conceived and first played.

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