Notes and Editorial Reviews
If Bach's 30 'Goldberg Variations' are the alpha of the genre, then Beethoven's 33 'Diabelli Variations' are the omega. Of course Beethoven had to outdo his predecessor in the variation count, but he also endeavored to go further in every direction with outrageous shifts of mood and dynamics and a range of parody that includes Papa Bach himself in the fughetta of Variation no. 24. On the slender reed of a seemingly trivial theme, the work, with the composer's inexhaustible bravado, sweeps one along on a journey that seems to go all over the map but ends on a much higher plateau than where it began.
Maurizio Pollini, with his steely technique and rigorous intellectual approach, proves to be an ideal interpreter of the Diabellis,
displaying firm control and outright strength with the right combination of fierceness, introspection and bluff humor. And while he may not be paying tribute to the Goldberg's most notorious champion, he can be clearly heard crooning, a la Glenn Gould, in the final variation. Read less
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