András Schiff: Bechstein piano, Franz Brodmann fortepiano
Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations are considered a magnum opus of the piano repertoire, a towering contribution to the genre and an entire Encyclopedia of pianism.
Following his monumental exploration of the 32 Sonatas, András Schiff has now recorded – on two period instruments – remarkable, contrasting versions of the Diabelli Variations alongside major late works with intrinsic ties to them. The Sonata Op. 111 and the Diabelli Variations (CD 1) are played on an original Bechstein grand from 1921, and the second reading of the Diabelli Variations, (paired with the op. 126 Bagatelles on CD 2) on a Hammerflügel fortepiano from Beethoven's own day. This gives listeners a unique opportunity to compare the rich range of these highly contrasting sonic universes, a world apart from modern day instruments.
In his liner note András Schiff acknowledges the value of having been able to consult the previously unknown original manuscript of the Variations which provided invaluable insight into Beethoven's compositional process and intentions.