Beethoven: ''Diabelli'' Variations
In 1819, Anton Diabelli, a music publisher, asked Beethoven and 49 other composers to contribute one variation on a waltz theme he had composed; Beethoven came up with 23 and later added 10 more. His variations are among the glories of the piano literature. The ”Hammerklavier” Sonata may be deeper, but no other Beethoven piano work is as rich in humor, nuance, and invention as these brilliant glosses on this trivial waltz theme. Brendel, tagged his whole career as a ”pianist’s pianist,” here demonstrates his considerable wit in a dashing display. The finger work is clean, the tone warm, and the intelligence formidable. What more can a music lover ask for?