Beethoven: The Complete Early Variations Alessandro Commellato

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  • Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827):
  • 132 Variations in C Minor WoO 8011:41
  • 25 Variations on "Rule Britannia" in D Major, WoO 7905:34
  • 37 Variations on "God Save the King" in D Major, WoO 7808:41
  • 46 Variations in G Major, WoO 7707:25
  • 58 Variations on "Tändeln und Scherzen" in F Major, WoO 7609:19
  • 67 Variations on "Kind, willst du ruhig schlafen" in F Major, WoO 7511:52
  • 76 Variations for Piano four hands on "Ich denke dein"in D Major, WoO 7405:05
  • 810 Variation on "La stessa la stessissima" in B-Flat Major, WoO 7312:26
  • 98 Variations on "Un fievre brûlante" in C Major, WoO 7207:10
  • 1012 Variations on a Russian Dance from Wranitsky's Ballet Das Waldmädchin A Major, WoO 7112:19
  • 116 Variations on "nel cor più non mi sento" in G Major, WoO 7005:44
  • 129 Variations on "quant'è più bello" in A Major, WoO 6906:05
  • 1312 Variations on "Menuet à la Viganò" in C Major, WoO 6814:41
  • 148 Variations on a theme by Count Waldstein in C Major, WoO 6708:56
  • 1513 Variations on "es war einmal ein alter Mann" in A Major, WoO 6614:53
  • 1624 Variations on Righini's Air "Venni amore" in D Major WoO 6523:27
  • 176 Easy Variations on a Swiss air in F Major, WoO 6402:55
  • 189 Variations on a March by Dressler in C Minor, WoO 6312:41
  • Total Runtime03:00:54

Info for Beethoven: The Complete Early Variations

An unrivalled compendium on disc of the Beethoven’s compositional laboratory, full of experiments that would be refined throughout his career to create the piano’s ‘New Testament’ of 32 sonatas.

Under the title of ‘early variations’, Alessandro Commellato has brought together all those theme with variation sets for solo and four hands piano that were not included in the main catalogue of Beethoven's compositions.

In fact not all of them are early: the imposing C minor 32 Variations WoO80 are the best-known work here, composed as late as 1806, and the sets on Rule Britannia and God save the King were written a year or two earlier, and perhaps not only for commercially expedient reasons, given Beethoven’s admiration for the British resistance to the proclamation of the French Empire.

More common, however, are the variation sets where Beethoven was establishing his voice and refining his technique by exercising his imagination on melodies from popular marches and operas by Grétry, Paisiello and Mozart. The composer used these works to curry favour with patrons such as Prince Lichnowsky; even on occasion as dedicatory gifts in order to make amends for his notoriously obstreperous behaviour, such as the variations on a Dittersdorf arietta, ‘Es war einmal’ (Once upon a time) which he gave in the summer of 1792 to Eleonore von Breuning, daughter of Maria Helena, who had welcomed the young wayward artist into her home.

Alessandro Commellato uses an 1823 fortepiano by Joseph Böhm, a Viennese piano-maker whose instruments were known to Beethoven, bestowing on this recording an unusual degree of authenticity. He is a specialist in historically informed performances of Viennese Classicism: previous discs for Brilliant Classics include music by Beethoven’s pupils such as the cello sonatas of Ferdinand Ries and piano concertos by Johann Nepomuk Hummel.

Alessandro Commellato, fortepiano
Elena Costa, fortepiano

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Booklet for Beethoven: The Complete Early Variations

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