To showcase the musical luminaries of his time in a special piano collection, Viennese music publisher Anton Diabelli invited the most important composers in Austria to compose variations on a waltz theme of his own creation. Such composers as Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt, Carl Czerny, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Ignaz Moscheles, among others less familiar today, contributed single entries to the project. But the most extraordinary music to be based on Diabelli's little waltz was Ludwig van Beethoven's hour-long set of 33 variations, known as the Diabelli Variations, a massive work of genius surpassing anything in his catalog. This Fleur de Son recording by Gabriel Chodos presents Beethoven's masterpiece with exemplary polish, and it is played with consummate skill and control. Chodos maintains a fairly moderate and steady pace and is painstaking in his phrasing, accentuation, and dynamics, so it seems he is quite methodical in his interpretation and execution. As a result, the Diabelli Variations seems less a flashy showpiece than music for serious reflection. The recorded sound is clear and detailed, and the performance has great physical presence and vibrant sonorities, thanks to the closeness of the piano.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Diabelli Variations, Op. 120|