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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations; Liszt, Et Al / Melvin Chen


Release Date: 04/25/2006 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9189   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenFranz LisztFranz SchubertJohann Nepomuk Hummel,   ... 
Performer:  Melvin Chen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

When composer and music publisher Antonio Diabelli invited a number of Viennese composers to write variations to a modest waltz theme of his own creation, no doubt he had little idea how the theme would be treated by Beethoven—and certainly not if he knew that Beethoven initially referred the waltz scornfully as a “Schusterfleck”—“cobbler’s patch”—for its bland repetitiveness. But Beethoven’s initial scorn somehow turned into creative frenzy, and he eventually ignored Diabelli’s request for a single variation, producing 33—nearly an hour’s worth of music. Diabelli published Beethoven’s masterful Op. 120 in 1823. The single variations of the remaining 49 composers—of which Melvin Chen performs examples by Hummel, Liszt, Schubert, Czerny, Read more Moscheles and Kalkbrenner on this recording—were published separately in 1824.

Melvin Chen, a native of Tennessee, has been recognized as a major young artist, with performances throughout the USA and abroad. Mr. Chen was selected to be a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “Chamber Music Two” after completing one of the most brilliant and unusual academic careers in recent memory. Chen completed a doctorate in chemistry from Harvard University, and also holds a double master's degree from the Juilliard School in piano and violin, where he studied with Seymour Lipkin and Glenn Dicterow, respectively. Previously, Chen attended Yale University, receiving a B.S. in chemistry and physics. During his tenure at Yale, he studied with Boris Berman, Paul Kantor, and Ida Kavafian. Mr. Chen is currently on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he also serves as associate director. He was previously a member of the piano faculty at the Yale School of Music.

Critic and annotator Keith Powers writes of “Melvin Chen’s adventurous reading of the Diabelli Variations (which) bears the mark of the great composer himself—fearless, eager for the extremes available in the score, yet rigorously true to the original.”
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Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1819-1823; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Variation über einem Walzer von Diabelli, S 147 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1822 
3.
Variation for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C minor, D 718 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1821; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1824 
5.
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz by Frederic Kalkbrenner
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
6.
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz by Ignaz Moscheles
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
7.
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz by Carl Czerny
Performer:  Melvin Chen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 

Sound Samples

Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: I. Thema: Vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: II. Var. 1 - Alla Marcia maestoso
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: III. Var. 2 - Poco allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: IV. Var. 3. L'istesso tempo
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: V. Var. 4 - Un poco piu vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: VI. Var. 5 - Allegro vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: VII. Var. 6 - Allegro ma non troppo e serioso
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: VIII. Var. 7 - Un poco piu allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: IX. Var. 8 - Poco vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: X. Var. 9 - Allegro pesante e risoluto
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XI. Var. 10 - Presto
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XII. Var. 11 - Allegretto
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XIII. Var. 12 - Un poco piu moto
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XIV. Var. 13 - Vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XV. Var. 14 - Grave e maestoso
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XVI. Var. 15 - Presto scherzando
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XVII. Var. 16 - Allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XVIII. Var. 17 - Allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XIX. Var. 18 - Poco moderato
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XX. Var. 19 - Presto
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXI. Var. 20 - Andante
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXII. Var. 21 - Allegro con brio - Meno allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXIII. Var. 22 - Allegro molto - alla Notte giorno faticar di Mozart
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXIV. Var. 23 - Allegro assai
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXV. Var. 24 - Fughetta: Andante
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXVI. Var. 25 - Allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXVII. Var. 26 - [Piacevole]
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXVIII. Var. 27 - Vivace
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXIX. Var. 28 - Allegro
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXX. Var. 29 - Adagio ma non troppo
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXXI. Var. 30 - Andante, sempre cantabile
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXXII. Var. 31 - Largo, molto espressivo
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXXIII. Var. 32 - Fuga: Allegro - Poco adago
Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120: XXXIV. Var. 33 - Tempo di Menuetto moderato - ma non tirasi dietro
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Friedrich Kalkbrenner
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Ignatz Moscheles
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Franz Liszt
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Franz Schubert
Variations on Diabelli's Waltz - Carl Czerny

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