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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Andreas Staier Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £11.14 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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ANDREAS STAIER Piano and Harpsichord

Undoubtedly one of the most prominent harpsichord and forte piano performers in the world, Andreas Staier embarked upon a solo career in 1986 and, since then, his indisputable musical mastery has made its mark on the interpretation of baroque, classical and romantic repertoire.

Born in Göttingen, Andreas studied modern piano and ... Read more in Amazon's Andreas Staier Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: Diabelli Variations + Schubert: The Piano Sonatas (Decca Collectors Edition)
Price For Both: £42.60

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Product details

  • Conductor: .
  • Composer: Czerny, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, Kerzkowsky, Kreutzer, et al.
  • Audio CD (7 May 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Classique
  • ASIN: B006OW817C
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,627 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

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

Product Description

HMF 902091; HARMONIA MUNDI - Francia; Classica da camera Piano

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful recording, full of energy and vigor 30 May 2014
Format:Audio CD
I have several recordings of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, and while it is a work I have long appreciated, it wasn’t until I heard this recent disc from Andreas Staier that I really started “getting it.” 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. Don’t forget, these are variations on a waltz, though after the first, opening theme, the waltz rhythm itself is pretty much absent. But they are full of musical humor. As Alfred Brendel said in an essay Must Classical Music Be Entirely Serious?, “…Beethoven here shines as the ‘most thoroughly initiated high priest of humour’; he calls the variations ‘a satire on their theme’.” Staier, in the liner notes, calls this music “ironic” and “sarcastic.”

Another unique aspect of this recording is that it is recorded on a fortepiano, with delicious, rich sound, which brings back the music as Beethoven heard it (or would have, if his hearing were better). Finally, this disc includes not only Beethoven’s variations, but also a selection of variations from other composers. When Diabelli wished to publish a set of variations on his theme, he sent the theme to a number of composers, and while many were published, it was Beethoven who went to the extreme, creating 33 variations. This recording includes variations by Mozart, Schubert, Czerny, Hummel and others, along with Staier’s own “Introduction,” an improvisation on the theme. All of these “remixes” are at the beginning of the disc, so if you only want to hear Beethoven, you can start listening at track 13.

As I said above, Staier’s performance here is lively, aggressive, and full of joy. It is a delight to hear him play this work, and especially on this attractive copy of a Graf fortepiano.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and thought-provoking 9 Aug 2014
By Elpenor
Format:Audio CD
This is a great recording of the Diabelli Variations and probably the best-recorded fortepiano I've ever heard. First things first: I love the way it opens with some of the 'other' Diabelli Variations by composers like Hummel, Schubert, and the young Liszt. The latter especially is fascinating. I also love the way Staier links them with the Beethoven by means of his own 'Introduction', which works very well. It sounds the way I imagine a Beethoven improvisation would sound, and in general it follows the older practice of performers opening a work with their own improvisations.

It perfectly sets the stage for what is a lively and energetic performance of the Diabelli Variations, with a great sense of continuity and cumulative sweep. This doesn't preclude individual characterisation of the variations or moments of repose, as the hauntingly played Variation 20 can demonstrate. No matter how many versions of the Diabelli Variations are in your collection, this one will make you hear it afresh, which is no mean feat.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Diabelli on a fortepiano 27 July 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The studio recording of the Diabelli Variations by Andreas Staier is amazing. It took me a long time to track down a recording of this work that I'm entirely satisfied with on an instrument of the kind that Beethoven knew. Andrew Clements: "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 of what can seem a forbidding span of music. " Indeed this is an extraordinary performance, especially for those who are curious about just how much a fortepiano is capable of in the right hands.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very fine Diabelli. 26 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
There are many versions of the Diabelli available, but this comfortably holds its own with the best (among which I would include Paul Lewis, Nikolyeva, Anderzewski to pick a few.) Staier is a superb pianist, and sails effortlessly through what is a very difficult piece of music. Two things make this cd especially interesting.

The first is the inclusion of variations written by other composers who were asked to contribute. They are competent and interesting enough, but show the different league that Beethoven was in compared to most of his contemporaries. (The Liszt variation, apparently written when he was 12, is an amazingly virtuosic piece from one so young.)

The second is the instrument used - a fortepiano with plenty of range and volume, and with some interesting effects used occasionally. One sounds as if the whole instrument is about to collapse.

I won't rabbit on about what Staier does with each variation, but he's obviously put a lot of work and thought into the performance, and the whole thing hangs together and flows beautifully.

Get it - you'll probably love it as much as I do.
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