Author Topic: Diabelli Variations  (Read 35785 times)

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Online Spotted Horses

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #140 on: June 10, 2022, 04:53:47 AM »
I have 17 recordings of the Diabelli Variations. I've never had an issue with listening all the way through. Traditionally, my reference was Serkin père but I guess I should do an actual comparison at some point. (On listening to all 17 versions of the Menuetto, the one on this occasion I most wanted to hear the other 32 variations of was András Schiff's Brodmann fortepiano recording, which seemed to best exemplify the qualities I mentioned above.)

Schiff sounds like a good place to start. My issue with the Diabelli's is generic. I don't do well with large collections of miniatures. I see people reporting listening to the Goldberg Variations, or the WTC, all the way through and I am amazed.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #141 on: June 10, 2022, 07:01:11 AM »
I see people reporting listening to the Goldberg Variations, or the WTC, all the way through and I am amazed.

Says Wikipedia:

In 1921, at age 17, [Rudolf Serkin] made his Berlin debut performing in [Adolf] Busch's ensemble as the keyboard soloist in the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. At the end of the concert, Busch told Serkin to play an encore to the enthusiastic audience. Serkin later reported that he asked Busch, "What shall I play?" and Busch "as a joke" told him to play the Goldberg Variations "and I took him seriously. When I finished there were only four people left: Adolf Busch, Artur Schnabel, Alfred Einstein and me."

 :D

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #142 on: June 10, 2022, 07:14:51 AM »
Schiff sounds like a good place to start. My issue with the Diabelli's is generic. I don't do well with large collections of miniatures. I see people reporting listening to the Goldberg Variations, or the WTC, all the way through and I am amazed.

In the Bach variations there’s an inbuilt caesura midway with the French overture. I’ve seen it performed with the artist going offstage for a breather at that point. I’m not sure if there’s a similar point in the Beethoven.
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Offline Brian

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #143 on: June 10, 2022, 08:26:44 AM »
Schiff sounds like a good place to start. My issue with the Diabelli's is generic. I don't do well with large collections of miniatures. I see people reporting listening to the Goldberg Variations, or the WTC, all the way through and I am amazed.
I have a lot of sympathy with this. A 15-minute variation movement is great. Even up to 25-30 minutes (Eroica, Enigma). After that, you really need a clear narrative arc or emotional progression. Some of those Reicha variation sets where he's just showing off how clever he is are really hard to tolerate.

I can do the Diabellis about once every six months. I usually favor faster, more classical versions but really enjoyed Uchida's. For the Goldbergs, I like the version Busoni did where he trimmed it down and sliced out repeats for non-boring concert performance.

Online Spotted Horses

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #144 on: June 10, 2022, 01:02:07 PM »
In the Bach variations there’s an inbuilt caesura midway with the French overture. I’ve seen it performed with the artist going offstage for a breather at that point. I’m not sure if there’s a similar point in the Beethoven.

I am more sensitive to the small scale structure of the Goldbergs. invention-showy piece-canon, invention-showy piece-canon. I usually do one or two cycles (three or six variations) to follow listening to a longer piece.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Diabelli Variations
« Reply #145 on: June 11, 2022, 12:02:03 AM »
Goldbergs with all repeats and slowish tempi leading to 80 min. or more duration can stretch one's patience, so I think it can be advisable to skip repeats. I usually have no problems with (almost) repeat free Goldbergs of ~40-50 min length and neither with the usually 45-50 min (depending on tempo and repeats, I have one by Anda below 40 min and the excentric Ugorski takes 61 and Anderszewski 63 min) duration of the Diabellis. It's not much longer than many symphonies or longish sonatas (like Schubert's last or LvB op.106).
There are several suggestions for "arcs" in the Diabellis, some posted further above in this thread. I think one can also listen to parts instead of the whole but I'd much rather do this with the GBV (like the first half) than with the Diabellis.
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