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Beethoven - Complete Works for Solo Piano, Vol. 15: ‘Diabelli’

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer Ronald Brautigam
Period Classical
Catalogue Number BIS-1943 SACD
EAN 7318599919430
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Jan 2017
Total time 67'34

Final disc in the series
In 1819 the Viennese music publisher and composer Anton Diabelli sent a short waltz to a long list of composers. These included Schubert, Hummel, a very young Franz Liszt and, as the most prominent composer of the time, naturally Beethoven. Diabelli was proposing to compile an anthology of variations on his own waltz, one from each composer. Beethoven responded in a characteristic manner: first there was nothing, and then there was nothing … and then, in 1823, there was an entire, and monumental, set of no less than thirty-three variations.
There are several possible reasons for this, one being that Beethoven felt that it was below his dignity to take part in a project of this nature. What is certain, however, is that he must have found Diabelli’s theme intriguing material to work with – and against: Beethoven often seems to poke fun at the waltz, starting already in the first variation by turning it into a pompous march. But like all truly great variation works the Diabelli Variations take in the high as well as the low, jokes as well as drama – or serenity, as in Variation 24, a Fughetta, clearly inspired by the Aria in Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
As the last large-scale piano work by Beethoven, the Diabelli Variations form a fitting close to Ronald Brautigam’s traversal of the complete solo piano music. Described in International Record Review as ‘a Beethoven player whose musical discernment is a constant source of wonderment’, Brautigam has through the course of this series performed works composed between 1783 and 1825, using four different fortepianos. On the present disc we hear a copy of a 4-stringed fortepiano by Conrad Graf from 1822 – similar to Beethoven’s own last instrument, which Graf supplied him with in 1826, a year before the composer’s death.
 
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  33 Veränderungen über einen Walzer von Anton Diabelli, Op.120 47'17
01 Theme: Vivace 0'56
02 Var. I. Alla marcia maestoso 1'42
03 Var. II. Poco allegro 0'48
04 Var. III. L’istesso tempo 1'10
05 Var. IV. Un poco più vivace 0'59
06 Var. V. Allegro vivace 0'53
07 Var. VI. Allegro ma non troppo e serioso 1'43
08 Var. VII. Un poco più allegro 1'00
09 Var. VIII. Poco vivace 1'09
10 Var. IX. Allegro pesante e risoluto 1'58
11 Var. X. Presto 0'36
12 Var. XI. Allegretto 0'52
13 Var. XII. Un poco più moto 0'56
14 Var. XIII. Vivace 0'56
15 Var. XIV. Grave e maestoso 3'09
16 Var. XV. Presto scherzando 0'32
17 Var. XVI. Allegro 0'53
18 Var. XVII. Allegro 0'57
19 Var. XVIII. Poco moderato 1'26
20 Var. XIX. Presto 0'51
21 Var. XX. Andante 2'05
 
22 Var. XXI. Allegro con brio 1'13
23 Var. XXII. Allegro molto (alla ‘Notte e giorno faticar’ di Mozart) 0'39
24 Var. XXIII. Allegro assai 0'56
25 Var. XXIV. Fughetta. Andante 2'19
26 Var. XXV. Allegro 0'41
27 Var. XXVI. Piacevole 1'18
28 Var. XXVII. Vivace 0'58
29 Var. XXVIII. Allegro 0'52
30 Var. XXIX. Adagio ma non troppo 0'56
31 Var. XXX. Andante, sempre cantabile 1'56
32 Var. XXXI. Largo, molto espressivo 4'14
33 Var. XXXII. Fuga. Allegro - Poco adagio 3'00
34 Var. XXXIII. Tempo di minuetto moderato 3'57
 
  6 National Airs with Variations, Op. 105 18'47
35 I. Variations on a Welsh folk song (The cottage maid) 2'30
36 II. Variations on a Scottish folk song (Von edlem Geschlecht war Shinkin – ‘Of noble stock was Shinkin’) 2'27
37 III. Variations on an Austrian folk song (A Schüsserl und a Reindl – ‘A bowl and a skillet’) 5'34
38 IV. Variations on an Irish folk song (The last rose of summer) 3'06
39 V. Variations on an Irish folk song (Chiling O’Guiry) 2'08
40 VI. Variations on an Irish folksong (Paddy whack) 3'02
 
  Album total 67'34
FortepianoBrautigam, Ronald

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