Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli)

This page lists all recordings of Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (33 Variations in C major on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli), by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) on CD, SACD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variation &. Reger: Telemann Variations

Beethoven: Diabelli Variation &. Reger: Telemann Variations


Beethoven:

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Paul Baumgartner (piano)

Reger:

Variations and Fugue on a theme by Georg Philipp Telemann, Op. 134

Erik Then-Bergh (piano)


Nearly 65 years ago, when Swiss pianist Paul Baumgartner (1903–1976) and German pianist Erik Then-Bergh (1916–1982) paid separate visits to the Beethovensaal in Hanover, they each recorded a monumental set of variations – very possibly on the same Hamburg Steinway D – and in each case the resulting LP proved to be the only that either artist ever made for the Deutsche Grammophon label. In addition, since each elected to commemorate what might arguably be termed connoisseur literature, neither disc became a best seller by classical music standards, and in fact, both faded into obscurity fairly soon after they appeared. Thus, modern listeners may be especially grateful that – perhaps ironically – today’s advanced digital technology offers an unprecedented window into the past that enables these superb performances to re-emerge into the sunlight. While today, neither Baumgartner nor Then-Bergh is as well remembered today as their gifts should merit, perhaps the present release will help restore at least some of the recognition they deserve, for they were not simply brilliant virtuosos, but performers of far rarer gifts: as can easily be seen from the performances presented here, they were, first and foremost, both extraordinarily intelligent and sensitive musicians.

Both recordings are mastered from the original tapes, and the detailed notes are by the distinguished Stephen Siek, connoisseur, teacher and performer.

“Then-Bergh’s impressive dexterity, range of colour and imaginative flair are a constant wonder” MusicWeb International (Reger)

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4825880

(CD)

$8.75

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Igor Levit (piano)

Levit is particularly at ease with the piano works of Beethoven. He is currently performing a Beethoven cycle at the Wigmore Hall where he is performing all Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas over 8 concerts. The Diabelli Variations form part of Beethoven’s later output and is recorded here by Levit; “Not since Andreas Staier’s version on fortepiano for Harmonia Mundi has there been such a riveting dissection of Beethoven’s amused quirkiness” (BBC Music Magazine).

“He characterises [the Diabellis] with rambunctious glee, brilliantly incisive and as nimble as a cat on a high wire, while keeping the music’s overall arch in sight...One imagines Beethoven playing it like this — in his dreams, anyway.” The Times, 4th December 2015 *****

“[A] sense of freshness and discovery runs through his Diabelli Variations...one of the most impressive aspects of the performance as a whole is how Levit holds the different aspects of this massive work in balance.” The Guardian, 14th October 2015 *****

“Levit's Diabelli Variations brim with exuberance, vitality and often humour, tumbling into one another with unstoppable energy but with such lightning-like shifts of character that the overall experience is exhilarating and exhausting.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 16th October 2016

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Sony - 88875140152

(CD)

$13.25

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Daniel Barenboim has said that Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations “are not actually variations, but rather 33 mutations”. This epic, multi-faceted work presents daunting technical and formal challenges to the pianist, but, praising Barenboim’s interpretation in 1990 – the year before this recording was made – The New York Times wrote that “it was actually possible to hear the greatness in the work that all commentators describe, but that in most performances must be taken on faith.”

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Erato Original Jacket Reissues - 9029593969

(CD)

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Christian Leotta (piano)

Italian pianist Christian Leotta returns with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. These variations were composed on a waltz written by composer Anton Diabelli, who instantly recognized “the novelty of their ideas, care in working-out, and beauty in the most artful of their transitions”.

Christian Leotta’s affinity for Beethoven's music has been unanimously recognized by critics, who praise 'his prodigious technique' (The WholeNote), and 'his capability of really seizing your attention at unexpected moments' (All Music Guide). Leotta has established a reputation as 'a pianist of the highest order: technician, musician and interpreter all at once' (La Presse).

Atma - ACD22485

(CD)

$14.50

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations


Beethoven:

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Für Elise (Bagatelle in A minor, WoO59)

Rondo a capriccio in G major, Op. 129 ‘Rage over a lost penny'

Variations (7) on 'God save the King', WoO 78

Variations (5) on 'Rule Britannia', WoO 79

Variations (6) in F major on a Swiss Song, WoO 64


“deeply probing, if not always fully engaged with the work's humour.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

“Of its digital power no one can be in doubt. Brendel plays with trenchant control, with a truly animating left hand and an acute perception of the music’s rhythmic emphases. What it does somewhat lack — and this is surprising given the Brendel we know today — is a lack of humour.” MusicWeb International, January 2013

Alto - ALC1194

(CD)

$6.25

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Diabelli Variations

Diabelli Variations


Beethoven:

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

plus:

Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli

Assmayer • Bocklet • Czapek • Czerny • Dreschler • Freystaedtler • Gänsbacher • Gelinek • Halm • Hoffmann • Horzalka • Huglmann • Hummel • Kalkbrenner • Kerzkowsky • Kreutzer • Lannoy • Leidesdorf • Liszt • Moscheles • W.A. Mozart (son) • Rieger • Roser • Schubert • Stadler • Szalay • Tomaschek (Tomášek) • Winkhler • Wittasek (Vitásek) • Worzischek (Voříšek)


Jörg Demus (fortepiano)

In 1819 the Viennese publisher Anton Diabelli asked ‘the most excellent composers and virtuosi of Vienna and the Austrian Empire’, to write a variation on a waltz theme he had composed. Beethoven was also asked, and although he at first refused, he did finally deliver a cycle of 33 variations as his own contribution to this strange competition. His set was published separately in 1823. The 50 variations by the other composers appeared a year later, under the collective title of ‘National Society of Artists, Part 2’. From these, Jörg Demus chooses 32, basing his decisions both on the quality of the pieces themselves, and the playing-time of an LP, on which the recording first appeared. Played on various fortepianos of the time, this marks this unique recording’s first release on CD.

“Demus's 1971 account of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations is solid if rather didactic.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 ***

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4803303

(CD - 2 discs)

$12.25

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Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950s, Vol. 7

Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950s, Vol. 7


Beethoven:

Rondo in C major, Op. 51 No. 1

Rondo in G major, Op. 51 No. 2

Eroica Variations, Op. 35

Piano Sonata No. 12 in A flat major, Op. 26 'March Funebre'

Bagatelle in F, Op. 33 No. 3

Piano Sonata No. 27 in E minor, Op. 90

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Variations (6) for Piano on an Original Theme in F major, Op. 34

Variations (6) on an original theme 'Die Ruinen von Athen', Op. 76


Parnassus's ongoing documentation of the little-known early period of Sviatoslav Richter's career continues with a monumental, mostly unpublished Beethoven recital from 1951. While there are well-known recordings of Richter playing the "Diabelli" Variations from 1971 and 1986, this is the earliest documented performance of him playing the music. Of the material in this concert, only the "Diabelli" Variations have ever been published before. The remaining material from this concert has never been published in any form.

Parnassus Sviatoslav Richter in the 1950s - PACD96046/7

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.75

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Stephen Kovacevich plays Beethoven's Diabelli Variations

Stephen Kovacevich plays Beethoven's Diabelli Variations


Bach, J S:

Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV828

Beethoven:

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Very special release indeed, the return after more than 40 years to the piece that first brought him worldwide fame – Stephen Kovacevich in Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations.

In the 90s Stephen recorded the complete Beethoven Sonatas for EMI for the first time, and the set is one of the standard recommendations. Yet something was missing and this recording completes the cycle, which for Kovacevich has become a true life-cycle, having given his sensational Wigmore Hall debut with this piece in 1961 and recording it in a still-classic version for Philips in 1968.

His conception has changed – it has a more live quality (despite being a studio recording) and more dramatic - quite simply it’s picks you up and sweeps you along irresistibly to the very end. Some of the most profound Beethoven playing ever put on disc!

As a generous bonus comes his first ever Bach recording, a concert favourite of his, Bach’s Partita no 4 which provides a wonderful palate-cleanser after the emotional rollercoaster of the Diabelli!

“It's certainly faster than his own earlier recording. But more important is the sense that Kovacevich has now encompassed the extremes of the work more fully. His understanding of Beethoven's juxtapositions of beauty and crudity, reflection and action, and the sheer dynamic range, are fully exposed in this new version, which captures the piano sound beautifully. A disc to treasure.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2009

“Kovacevich brings penetrating insight and a thrilling physical involvement. From the outset there is a driving momentum and crispness of articulation, and the bristling energy of so many variations makes the slower ones stand out in compelling relief, without needing especially slow tempos... one of the most impressive things about this new recording is the powerful feeling of live music-making. It is alive and spontaneous, and the overall physical and emotional sweep here is exciting and enormously fulfilling.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2009 *****

“[The Diabellis are] custom built for Kovacevich. Nothing this artist does is less than compelling” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Awards 2009

Editor's Choice

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2009

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010

Instrumental Finalist

Early Music

Onyx - ONYX4035

(CD)

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Building a Library

Second Choice - March 2000

Presto CD

Philips - 4262322

(Presto CD)

$14.50

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120


Presto CD

Philips - 4162952

(Presto CD)

$14.50

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