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A Beethoven and Diabelli homage of a special kind: Lera Auerbach’s “Diabellical Waltz”

Ludwig van Beethoven dominates this year's concert programmes, and there is a remarkable series of world premieres of new pieces by contemporary composers, which deal with his music but also with his person. The gifted Beethoven interpreter Rudolf Buchbinder, the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and a long list of other associated institutions also had an original idea. They took a major work by the master as an impetus for commissions to contemporary composers. The Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach was also asked to create a piano variation of her own for the project "Diabelli 2020". The background is the waltz in C major, which the Viennese music publisher Anton Diabelli had composed and sent to a number of composers of his day with the request to compose variations based on this piece. The Buchbinder project now carries this idea into the 21st century. Buchbinder was inspired by the 33 variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, op. 120 by Beethoven, which hold a special place in the composer's oeuvre and have played a decisive role in the art of variation in subsequent epochs.

Rudolf Buchbinder explains:

"Hans von Bülow, the conductor and pianist, once called the Diabelli Variations the "microcosm of Beethoven's genius". For me, the Diabelli Variations reveal Beethoven's greatness: humorous, angry, melancholy or swinging - there is no state of mind that he does not describe here. Moreover, the Diabelli Variations are music about music. In 1819 the Viennese music publisher Anton Diabelli sent a small waltz to various composers and asked them to create an individual variation. Beethoven himself did not reply with one variation, but - after four years of work - with 33 variations. For me, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth was the occasion to ask eleven composers of our time, all of whom I am connected to in one way or another, for a variation on this waltz by Diabelli as well. In this way I play Beethoven's masterpiece in the context of his and our contemporaries. The New Diabelli Variations are a bow to Beethoven's genius."

On 3 March 2020 the world premiere of the "New Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli" will take place in Vienna. In addition to these new variations, Rudolf Buchbinder will also play the original Diabelli Variations from 1819 as well as Beethoven's Diabelli Variation op. 120 as part of his Diabelli programme. In addition to Lera Auerbach with her "Diabellical Waltz", contributions will also be made by Brett Dean, Toshio Hosokawa, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Krzysztof Penderecki, Max Richter, Rodion Shchedrin, Johannes Maria Staud, Tan Dun and Jörg Widmann.

The "New Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli" are a commission from the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Brucknerhaus Linz, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical Madrid, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, National Centre for the Performing Arts Beijing, Palau de la Música Catalana Barcelona, Philharmonie de Paris, Stars of the White Nights Festival St. Petersburg, Stiftung Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Suntory Hall Tokyo and Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zurich, supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Rudolf Buchbinder will perform his Diabelli Variations programme with all these commissioners and at various other venues worldwide until 2021, the year of his 75th birthday. In March 2020 Deutsche Grammophon will release Buchbinder's recording of his variation programme on CD ('The Diabelli Project').

03.03.2020
Vienna
UA Lera Auerbach:
Diabellical Waltz
Rudolf Buchbinder (piano)
Commissioned by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, the Brucknerhaus Linz, Centro Nacional de Difusión Musical Madrid, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, National Centre for the Performing Arts Beijing, Palau de la Música Catalana Barcelona, Philharmonie de Paris, Stars of the White Nights Festival St. Petersburg, Stiftung Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Suntory Hall Tokyo and Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zurich, supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

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