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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 / Christian Leotta, piano

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Italian pianist Christian Leotta returns with Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. These variations were composed on a waltz written by composer Anton Diabelli, who instantly recognized "the novelty of their ideas, care in working-out, and beauty in the most artful of their transitions". Christian Leotta's affinity for Beethoven's music has been unanimously recognized by critics, who praise "his prodigious technique" (The WholeNote), and "his capability of really seizing your attention at unexpected moments" (All Music Guide). Leotta has established a reputation as "a pianist of the highest order: technician, musician and interpreter all at once" (La Presse).

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Salle Raoul-Jobin, Palais Montcalm, Québec, Canada (07/2014).


Marvelous performance and recording of these variations!
This recording consists of all 33 variations on a Waltz in C Major by Anton Diabelli (Op. 120). In 1819 Diabelli’s publisher circulated the waltz to Austria’s most prominent composers with an invitation to each to write a variation as part of a collective work. Fifty accepted the challenge. But four years later Beethoven sent him 33 variations. Diabelli must have been just thrilled!

The first track is the Waltz that the remaining variations are based on, and in and of itself it is a wonderful little tune. But what Beethoven does with the musical foundation of this tune is just remarkable. Particularly noteworthy for me were Variation 14 (track 15, Grave e maestoso) due to the feel of the variation and the much slower tempo requiring a particularly virtuosic touch to provide balance and depth to the variation, Variation 16 (track 17, Allegro) which is just a beast to play even for someone with the talents of Mr. Leotta even though he makes it sound far too easy, Variation 19 (track 20, Presto) is not only difficult, but sounds like it would really fun to watch, Variation 20 (track 21, Andante) is slow and quiet, requiring a delicate but firm touch and a particularly sensitive sense of balance for the entire 3:15 of the variation, Variation 26 (track 27, Piacevole) has a beautiful cascade of notes that trickle down the keyboard and under Mr. Leotta’s touch the sequence is seamless, Variation 31 (track 32, Largo molto, espressivo) which for this listener has a deeply personal feeling of subtle strength coupled with resignation and weariness, and finally Variation 33 (track 34, Tempo di Menuetto, moderato) a rather noble and gentle piece of music that is incredibly well constructed and pleasing to both the ear and the mind.

The quality of this recording is marvelous, and I can’t say enough about Mr. Leotta’s playing. It is clear that he is emotionally invested in bringing each variation to life, and investing every note with nuances and expressiveness. I highly recommend this CD!

Submitted on 11/03/16 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120
  • Performer: Christian Leotta (Piano)
  • Running Time: 49 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1819