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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
 
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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

7 May 2012 | Format: MP3

£7.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Product details

  • Label: harmonia mundi
  • Copyright: (c) 2012 harmonia mundi France
  • Total Length: 1:07:12
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00B9J8E54
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,911 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elpenor on 9 Aug 2014
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 By FL Traverso on 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 By Mr. K. H. Cobb on 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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