33 Variations on a Waltz (Diabelli Variations) for Piano, Op.120
From the Publisher
In December 1818, the Viennese music publisher Pietro Cappi announced the establishment of a new firm with his business partner Anton Diabelli named Cappi & Diabelli. The company developed a good nose for the taste of the day and quickly became one of the most influential music publishers in Biedermeier Vienna.
Early on in the enterprise Diabelli sent a 32-measure waltz which he had written himself to the most reputable composers of the Austrian Empire with the invitation to submit a set of variations which were to be published in a collaborative collection. We only know for sure of one composer who explicitly declined to collaborate: Beethoven.
It remains unclear why Beethoven did not want to participate in the contest. He nevertheless composed 33 variations, not directly for Diabelli, rather considering alternative avenues of publication. His “Diabelli Variations” mark the pinnacle of his oeuvre for variations and next to Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” form one of the most important contributions to this genre.
In the Preface of this edition, the editor Mario Aschauer describes the very complex source situation. Discrepancies between the main sources are presented with ossias in light grey print. A detailed Critical Commentary (Eng) and notes regarding Viennese piano performance practice during Beethoven’s day (Ger/Eng) complete this fine Urtext edition.