The Northport Arts Coalition
with the cooperation of
The Northport Public Library
34 Pianists
in performance of
The Diabelli Variations
by Ludwig van Beethoven

Friday April 19th 2002, 7:30 PM
at the Northport Public Library
Admission free.  Reservations required.

The Diabelli Variations

This opus, that Alfred Brendel has described as, "The greatest of all piano works," might justifiably be considered an afterthought of Beethoven's.

According to most accounts, in 1819 Anton Diabelli, a composer and prominent music publisher, sent a copy of a waltz theme he had just written to 50 composers, requesting that each of them write one variation on the theme for a composite set. He intended to publish this set and to use the profits from sales to benefit orphans and widows of the Napoleonic Wars, but he probably also wanted to promote his new publishing firm. Beethoven was one of the recipients of the theme, but he is said to have refused to participate in the project, referring to the waltz as a "cobbler's patch," or, by some accounts, "trash." The composite set was indeed published, but without a contribution from Beethoven. Nevertheless, the theme must have eventually grabbed his attention, because by 1820, in a letter to one Peter Joseph Simrock, of the Bonn publishing house, Beethoven refers to his work on the variations as, "grand variations on a German waltz."

Martin Cooper, in his book entitled, Beethoven/The Last Decade, states, "Diabelli's waltz revealed an unexpected number of characteristics necessary in a variation theme---a strong if primitive harmonic structure, salient rhythmic traits and a melodic nullity that was itself a kind of virtue." Evidently, the limits of Diabelli's talents as a composer allowed Beethoven's limitless talents to flourish.

Cooper goes on to characterize this opus as, "an epitome or microcosm of his musical world. The variety of treatment is almost without parallel, so that the work represents a book of advanced studies in Beethoven's manner of expression and his use of the keyboard, as well as a monumental work in its own right." Cooper was probably elaborating on a statement by Hans von Bulow, a 19th century piano virtuoso and student of Liszt, who referred to the variations as, "a microcosm of Beethoven's art."

It's amazing, sometimes, what you can find in the trash.

Joe Patrych  Producer/Engineer  Bronx, NY
Jane Leslie Pianist/composer East Rockaway, NY 
Larry Schwartz Pianist  Great Neck, NY
Kathryn Heuzey Painter Cold Spring Harbor, NY 
Aglaia Messina  Pianist  Huntington Bay, NY 
Bill Saperstein  Pediatrician  Dix Hills, NY 
Ken Koh  Pianist  Melville, NY 
Iris Kaplan  Pianist  Jericho, NY 
Fiona McLennan  Business Executive  Centerport, NY 
Jeff Bennett  Actor Northport, NY 
Dimitry Rachmanov  Pianist  New York, NY 
Matthew Cameron Pianist  Brooklyn, NY 
Artis Wodehouse  Pianist  New York, NY 
Byran Reeder  Student Northport, NY 
Nevart Zeronian  Pianist  Oyster Bay, NY 
Russell Stevenson  Pianist  Dix Hills, NY 
Walter Winterfeldt  Pianist Bronxville, NY 
Russell Karpp Lawyer  Northport, NY 
Rosemary Caviglia  Pianist  New York, NY 
Laura D'Alessio  Pianist  Huntington, NY 
Pat Cestaro  Pianist  Northport, NY 
Peter Vinograde Pianist  New York, NY 
Steven Kaplan Pianist  Long Beach, NY 
Isabel Schwartz  Pianist  Great Neck, NY 
Isabella Eredita Johnson Pianist Northport, NY
Elizabeth Caserta  Pianist  Lloyd Harbor, NY
Donna Gorelick  Pianist  Centerport, NY 
Richard Vallis Pianist  Albertson, NY 
Cullan Bryant  Pianist  New York, NY 
Remy D'Esposito  Pianist  Huntington Station, NY 
Erasmia Voukelatos  Pianist  New York, NY 
Leopold Godowsky III  Pianist  New York, NY 
Lance La Bianca Pianist  Ardsley, NY 
Tatjana Rankovich Pianist  New York, NY 

Biographies of the pianists are available on the Pianist Bio Web Page.

This unique event was conceived and organized by Isabella Eredita Johnson,
also the impresario for last year's popular 32 pianist Goldberg Variations.

The Northport Journal ran this nice article by George Wallace.
(Click the image for a larger size image that you can read.)

This event is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.  In Suffolk County the Decentralization Program is administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc. in partnership with the Suffolk Consortium of Arts Councils.  Special thanks to the Northport Public Library which provided the venue and partial funding for this event.

Web page by STOOMZEE.