The Diabelli Variations
Continuing the year-long celebration of Beethoven’s legacy, today's performance is of one of the most extraordinary solo piano works ever written. The Diabelli Variations op. 120 began on request of the publisher Diabelli to several composers (including Hummel, Czerny, Liszt etc.) to write one set of variations to form a larger work for publication. Instead Beethoven took it upon himself to write a stand-alone one hour long work of 33 variations that explores every style imaginable.
Diabelli himself writes in the introduction to the published work: "We present here to the world Variations of no ordinary type, but a great and important masterpiece worthy to be ranked with the imperishable creations of the old Classics—such a work as only Beethoven, the greatest living representative of true art—only Beethoven, and no other, can produce. The most original structures and ideas, the boldest musical idioms and harmonies are here exhausted; every pianoforte effect based on a solid technique is employed, and this work is the more interesting from the fact that it is elicited from a theme which no one would otherwise have supposed capable of a working-out of that character in which our exalted Master stands alone among his contemporaries."
BEETHOVEN Diabelli Variations
Timothy Young piano
Presented by Beleura House and Garden
Photo by Pia Johnson