Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Unlike some musicians who specialize in performance on period instruments, there's nothing rigid or doctrinaire about Edmund Battersby's approach to Beethoven. On this release, the pianist -- and fortepianist -- goes so far as to offer two complete recordings of the Diabelli Variations, one on a modern Steinway, the other on a recently built replica of a 1825 Conrad Graf instrument, similar to one owned by Beethoven himself. Battersby's point -- amply made by his incisive playing as well as his instrument choices -- seems to be that we're under no obligation to choose one or the other, but rather that the two options can be mutually illuminating. And so they are, but ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Unlike some musicians who specialize in performance on period instruments, there's nothing rigid or doctrinaire about Edmund Battersby's approach to Beethoven. On this release, the pianist -- and fortepianist -- goes so far as to offer two complete recordings of the Diabelli Variations, one on a modern Steinway, the other on a recently built replica of a 1825 Conrad Graf instrument, similar to one owned by Beethoven himself. Battersby's point -- amply made by his incisive playing as well as his instrument choices -- seems to be that we're under no obligation to choose one or the other, but rather that the two options can be mutually illuminating. And so they are, but with the twist that whichever version you're listening to at the moment seems to be the superior one: In the midst of the modern piano performance, it's hard to imagine giving up the instrument's boldness, dynamic range, and rich resonance, yet paradoxically, those features aren't much missed when the magically lighter and brighter sound of the period instrument is in the air. Since the Diabelli Variations can be rather enigmatic -- a massive and ultimately transcendent set of variations on a trivial little tune -- Battersby's twofold illumination of the work will not only help the listener appreciate its full stature but also the breadth of the performer's talents.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
Hats off, gentlemen, an original idea! American pianist Edmund Battersby has released not one but a pair of performances of Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations": one on a modern Steinway and the other on a replica of a Graf fortepiano. Why did he do it? According to the liner notes, "Battersby's original thesis was to prove that perhaps this great work was less abstract and more instrumental than originally perceived." What's the final effect? A pair of performances that are much more instrumental and far less abstract and very, very impressive. On either the modern Steinway or the Graf replica, Battersby is a wonderful player: brightly virtuosic and interpretively alert to the nuances of the music. On either instrument, Battersby's technique responds to each's specific qualities: the sustain of the modern Steinway or the articulation of the Graf replica, the depth of modern Steinway or the brilliance of the Graf replica. He is also anything but an abstract interpreter -- the intellectual approach of Brendel or Pollini is not for him. Instead, Battersby finds the humor and the tragedy, the sorrow and the joy, the wit and wisdom, in a word, the humanity of Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations." While this should not be the only recording of the work one ever hears -- the magisterial Schnabel, the magnificent Backhaus, the stupendous Richter, the monumental Serkin, and perhaps even the intellectual Brendel or Pollini performances are mandatory -- for listeners who already know and love the work, Battersby's original idea and deeply human performance will be thoroughly appealing. Naxos' sound is better than usual, rounder, warmer, and more detailed.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/16/2005
  • Label: Naxos
  • UPC: 747313238422
  • Catalog Number: 8557384-85
  • Sales rank: 251,924

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–66 Variations (32) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Edmund Battersby (101:57)
    Composed byLudwig van Beethoven
    1. 1Theme: Vivace
    2. 2Variation 1: Alla Marcia, maestoso
    3. 3Variation 2: Poco allegro
    4. 4Variation 3: L'istesso tempo
    5. 5Variation 4: Un poco più vivace
    6. 6Variation 5: Allegro vivace
    7. 7Variation 6: Allegro ma non troppo e serioso
    8. 8Variation 7: Un poco più allegro
    9. 9Variation 8: Poco vivace
    10. 10Variation 9: Allegro pesante e risoluto
    11. 11Variation 10: Presto
    12. 12Variation 11: Allegretto
    13. 13Variation 12: Un poco più mosso
    14. 14Variation 13: Vivace
    15. 15Variation 14: Grave e maestoso
    16. 16Variation 15: Presto scherzando
    17. 17Variation 16: Allegro / Variation 17: Attaca
    18. 18Variation 18: Poco moderato
    19. 19Variation 19: Presto
    20. 20Variation 20: Andante
    21. 21Variation 21: Allegro con brio
    22. 22Variation 22: Allegro molto
    23. 23Variation 23: Allegro assai
    24. 24Variation 24: Fughetta - Andante
    25. 25Variation 25: Allegro
    26. 26Variation 26: [Piacevole]
    27. 27Variation 27: Vivace
    28. 28Variation 28: Allegro
    29. 29Variation 29: Adagio ma non troppo
    30. 30Variation 30: Andante, sempre cantabile
    31. 31Variation 31: Largo, molto espressivo
    32. 32Variation 32: Fuga - Allegro
    33. 33Variation 33: Tempo di Menuetto, moderato
    34. 34Theme: Vivace
    35. 35Variation 1: Alla Marcia, maestoso
    36. 36Variation 2: Poco allegro
    37. 37Variation 3: L'istesso tempo
    38. 38Variation 4: Un poco più vivace
    39. 39Variation 5: Allegro vivace
    40. 40Variation 6: Allegro ma non troppo e serioso
    41. 41Variation 7: Un poco più allegro
    42. 42Variation 8: Poco vivace
    43. 43Variation 9: Allegro pesante e risoluto
    44. 44Variation 10: Presto
    45. 45Variation 11: Allegretto
    46. 46Variation 12: Un poco più mosso
    47. 47Variation 13: Vivace
    48. 48Variation 14: Grave e maestoso
    49. 49Variation 15: Presto scherzando
    50. 50Variation 16: Allegro / Variation 17: Attaca
    51. 51Variation 18: Poco moderato
    52. 52Variation 19: Presto
    53. 53Variation 20: Andante
    54. 54Variation 21: Allegro con brio
    55. 55Variation 22: Allegro molto
    56. 56Variation 23: Allegro assai
    57. 57Variation 24: Fughetta - Andante
    58. 58Variation 25: Allegro
    59. 59Variation 26: [Piacevole]
    60. 60Variation 27: Vivace
    61. 61Variation 28: Allegro
    62. 62Variation 29: Adagio ma non troppo
    63. 63Variation 30: Andante, sempre cantabile
    64. 64Variation 31: Largo, molto espressivo
    65. 65Variation 32: Fuga - Allegro
    66. 66Variation 33: Tempo di Menuetto, moderato
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Edmund Battersby Primary Artist
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