Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, etc.

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, etc.

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - August 2012

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - August 2012

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013

Instrumental Finalist

Catalogue No:

HMC902091

Discs:

1

Release date:

8th May 2012

Barcode:

3149020209127

Medium:

CD

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Diabelli Variations by Czerny, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, Kerzkowsky, Kreutzer, Liszt, Moscheles, Pixis, Mozart, Schubert & Beethoven


Andreas Staier (fortepiano after Conrad Graf)

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As is his custom, Andreas Staier has gone back to the original manuscript of one of the most famous sets of variations in history: Beethoven’s 'Diabelli Variations'. He has not however, restricted his work to recording the magnum opus, since the CD begins with a selection of variations written by some of the other 50 composers Diabelli asked to take part in his project. Here you can discover the very first stirrings of Liszt’s virtuosity (aged 11), the music of Mozart’s son, the unexpected variations of Kreutzer and Kalkbrenner, and the 'Diabelli Variation' of a certain Franz Schubert. A thrilling musical investigation with Andreas Staier's own 'Introduction'.

"My intention with the Introduction was to create a sound-space that separates the twelve ‘preludes’, from Czerny to Schubert, from Beethoven’s great cycle. It’s a pause for breath in what is otherwise rigorously composed music. So I think the improvisatory element is perfectly appropriate here. And that way one can ensure that Diabelli’s waltz has the necessary freshness the second time it’s played. I keep to the essence of what can be made out from Beethoven’s sketch of 1819, and stay close to the theme. The striking three-note motif with the combination of the intervals of a semitone and a rising third suggests an echo of the finale from the Piano Sonata in D major op.10 no.3. But I didn’t develop the interval of the descending fourth in the sketch because it’s so clearly presented by Beethoven himself in the very first variation...

This fascinating manuscript allows us to infer Beethoven’s choleric and impatient sides, but not the ironic side to his character. The annotations show his worries and difficulties during a pretty laborious process of composition. What began as a fair copy increasingly turns into a working manuscript. With the dynamics of the handwriting and the many corrections and erasures, it provides a whole range of pointers to the composer’s intentions. It’s a treasure trove for the interpreter." Andreas Staier

Aus: "50 Veränderungen über einen Walzer von Anton Diabelli" (Wien, 1824)

Diabelli: Thema

Czerny: Var. IV

Hummel: Var. XVI

Kalkbrenner: Var. XVIII

Kerzkowsky: Var. XX

Kreutzer, C: Var. XXI

Liszt: Var. XXIV

Moscheles: Var. XXVI

Pixis: Var. XXXI

Mozart: Var. XXVIII

Schubert: Var. XXXVIII

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op.120

"Introduction"

Thema. Vivace

Var. I. Alla Marcia maestoso

Var. II. Poco allegro

Var. III. L'istesso tempo

Var. IV. Un poco più vivace

Var. V. Allegro vivace

Var. VI. Allegro ma non troppo e serioso

Var. VII. Un poco più allegro

Var. VIII. Poco vivace

Var. IX. Allegro pesante e risoluto

Var. X. Presto

Var. XI. Allegretto

Var. XII. Un poco più moto

Var. XIII. Vivace

Var. XIV. Grave e maestoso

Var. XV. Presto scherzando

Var. XVI. Allegro

Var. XVII.

Var. XVIII. Poco moderato

Var. XIX. Presto

Var. XX. Andante

Var. XXI. Allegro con brio - Meno allegro

Var. XXII. Allegro molto

Var. XXIII. Allegro assai

Var. XXIV - Fughetta. Andante

Var. XXV. Allegro

Var. XXVI.

Var. XXVII. Vivace

Var. XXVIII. Allegro

Var. XXIX. Adagio ma non troppo

Var. XXX. Andante, sempre cantabile

Var. XXXI. Largo molto, espressivo

Var. XXXII - Fuga. Allegro - Poco adagio

Var. XXXIII. Tempo di Menuetto moderato

The Independent on Sunday

29th April 2012

*****

“Staier's fortepiano is deliciously transparent, his musicianship revelatory.”

The Telegraph

3rd May 2012

“Every now and then a CD comes along which paints a familiar piece in completely new colours. This recording...is one. The pianist Andreas Staier achieves this partly by playing on a copy of an early19th-century fortepiano...But the really interesting colours are the one Staier makes himself...the CD is a triumph of musical intelligence and sensitivity, which, despite its learning, sounds completely free and natural.”

The Guardian

16th May 2012

“It's safe to predict that very few people who hear this extraordinary performance...will have heard one quite like it before...his performance is about much more than special effects. Staier's variations of touch and tone and the nuances of his pedalling would be remarkable on a modern concert grand, let alone such an early instrument, while he is always alert to the ways in which he can articulate and alter the pacing”

Sunday Times

27th May 2012

“Staier finds unexpected colours in this most mercurial, witty and enigmatic of the late piano works. Anybody accustomed to the “plinky-plonk” sound of period instruments in modern...will be astonished at the spectrum of timbres Staier conjures from this fortepiano...A piano disc for the ages.”

International Record Review

June 2012

“His interpretative approach scarcely needs describing: relatively straightforward in delivery, technically impeccable, making light of the inherent unevenness of the instruments...An outstanding achievement...which certainly whets the appetite for more Beethoven to come.”

Gramophone Magazine

August 2012

“Staier's perfectly judged tempi, angular demeanour, characterful contrasts, biting accents and cumulative sweep add up to a performance that abounds with probing details yet never loses sight of the music's grand design...This is far away the most stimulating and best-played fortepiano Diabelli Variations on compact disc.”

BBC Music Magazine

August 2012

*****

“The endlessly ear-opening consequences are riveting; the wide-ranging aplomb of Beethoven's Variations could have been conceived with Staier's musical curiosity and flair in mind...This isn't just an indisputably great performance on fortepiano; it's a great performance full stop. Given Staier's virtuosity and insight, what price Hammerklavier next?”

MusicWeb International

24th September 2012

“this latest disc from Andreas Staier stands out. First, it's the most infectiously joyous recording I have of the Diabellis. At times, Staier's performance makes me almost want to get up and dance … delicious, rich sound, which brings back the music as Beethoven heard it … Staier’s performance is lively, aggressive and full of joy. It is a delight to hear him play this work … The recording is excellent … this is a great recording of a great work, and one that any lover of Beethoven's piano works should get.”

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