A Query from the Diabelli Variations

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece by Stuart Isacoff on Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations."   

In it, Isacoff explains that "Its genesis can be traced to 1819, when Anton Diabelli, one of Beethoven’s principal publishers, sent his own undistinguished waltz melody to every important composer he could find in Austria, requesting a variation on it from each.

"At first, Beethoven demurred...But after thinking it over, he agreed to compose a special set of variations all his own. And four years later, in May 1823, Beethoven delivered 33 spectacular variants on the original waltz theme."

We might have a favorite variation, or be moved by different variations at different points of our life, but it wouldn't make much sense to ask which variation is "right." Part of the magnificence of this "most fertile composition" is its very variety. Reflecting further, it is interesting to note that the nature of the variations denies us the ability to seek out a true original.

You can read more here: http://quakerlibertarians.weebly.com/blog/a-query-from-the-diabelli...

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