- Variations (32) on a waltz by Diabelli, for piano in C major ("Diabelli Variations"), Op. 120
- Andante with variations for piano in F minor, H. 17/6
What does this mean, Herr Korstick: "Beethoven Cycle Vol. 1?" Why does Vol. 1 of a cycle of Beethoven's piano sonatas start with the "Diabelli Variations," the composer's final, epic work for the piano written after his last sonata? And why does Vol. 1 of a cycle of Beethoven also include Haydn's "Variations in F minor," the composer's final, tragic farewell to his last love? In the notes, you refer to the "Diabelli Variations" as "the quintessence of Beethoven", but starting after the end is odd, and including Haydn's "Variations" is simply a mystery. Ah, yes, by playing the disc, the listener grasps your meaning. Through the subtlety of tone, lucidity of rhetoric, transparency of balances, intensity of concentration, and, above all, the humor, intellect, warmth, strength, and spirit of your performance, your interpretation of the "Diabelli" does touch what could aptly be called the quintessence of Beethoven. In your performance, the listener understands that the "Diabelli Variations," as Beethoven's ultimate piano work, is not only the ideal toward which his piano sonatas strive, it is also the summation, the distillation, and the quintessence of Beethoven's pianistic achievement. While the addition of your slightly too reserved performance of Haydn's "Variations" is still a mystery, the listener takes your meaning: if the rest of your cycle is as successful as the first, yours could be one of the great recorded Beethoven cycles. Oehms' sound is clear and warm, but perhaps too reverberant.