Vaterländischer Künstlerverein

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Theme of the Variations - Diabelli's Waltz
Performed by Neal O'Doan

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Vaterländischer Künstlerverein was a collaborative musical publication or anthology, incorporating 83 variations for piano on a theme by Anton Diabelli, written by 51 composers living in or associated with Austria. It was published in two parts in 1823 and 1824, by firms headed by Diabelli. It includes Ludwig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (a set of 33 variations), as well as single variations from 50 other composers including Carl Czerny, Franz Schubert, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Franz Liszt (aged only 12 at the time of publication), and a host of lesser-known names including a son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others now largely forgotten.

Vaterländischer Künstlerverein has various translations, including "Patriotic Artists' Association",[1] "Art Association of the Fatherland",[2] "Patriotic Culture Club",[3] "Fatherland's Society of Artists",[4] "National Artists' Association", "Native Artist's Association" and "Native Society of Artists".[5]

Background[edit]

In 1819,[4] the Viennese publishing house of Cappi & Diabelli invited a number of Austrian composers to contribute one variation each for the piano, on a theme written by Anton Diabelli himself, one of the principals of the firm. Diabelli's theme is usually described as a waltz, but in form it has more of the character of a Ländler.[1] Carl Czerny was asked to also provide a coda as a suitable way of rounding out the collection.[4] Ludwig van Beethoven exceeded his brief by writing no less than 33 variations, and entered into negotiations with Diabelli to have his set published separately from the others. Beethoven's first biographer Anton Schindler wrote that the project was first devised in the winter of 1822-23, but this is an error, as Czerny's manuscript is dated 7 May 1819[5] and Franz Schubert's variation is known to have been written in March 1821.[1] Czerny's was the earliest variation to be written, and as he also wrote the coda, it is likely that Diabelli involved him in the project from the very beginning. It is also likely that the invitations were sent not long before Czerny's contributions were written (May 1819), but certainly no later.[5]

It is not known exactly what lay behind this project, other than perhaps a simple act of self-promotion, either for the firm or for Diabelli himself. The combined contributions were published as Vaterländischer Künstlerverein, in two parts. Part I was published by Cappi & Diabelli[4] in June 1823, and consisted of Beethoven's 33 variations (now known as the Diabelli Variations, Op. 120), with a dedication to Mme Antonie von Brentano. By the time the second part was published, the two principals, Diabelli and Pietro Cappi had parted company,[6] and Diabelli had joined with Anton Spina and renamed the firm Diabelli & Co.[7] Part II was published in late 1823 or early 1824 by Diabelli & Co., and includes the other 50 variations and Czerny's coda.

It is also not known how many composers were approached, but 51 responded to the invitation. Some well-known names such as Ignaz Seyfried and Joseph Weigl do not appear. Whether they were not interested in participating or whether they were not even approached is not known.

Leaving Beethoven's 33 variations to one side, 48 of the other 50 composers wrote only the one variation they were asked for. Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart and Gottfried Rieger wrote two variations each, but only one from each of them was originally published.[1]

Part I, by Beethoven[edit]

Main article: Diabelli Variations

Ludwig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations is considered one of the supreme masterpieces of the piano literature, and far superior to anything in Part II. It is frequently performed and recorded to this day.

Part II, by various composers[edit]

The composers of Part II include some names still notable today, but most of them have been forgotten. The variations were numbered in strictly alphabetical order according to the then current spelling conventions. The full list follows, with particularly notable names highlighted:

Variation
number
Composer Vital dates Time
signature
Key
signature
Tempo marking Number of measures
(including repeats)
Subtitle
(if any)
Comments
Theme Anton Diabelli 1781-1858 3/4 C major Vivace 64
1. Ignaz Assmayer (or Aßmayer) 1790-1862 3/4 C major Moderato 64
2. Carl Maria von Bocklet 1801-1881 2/4 C major Vivace 64 Born in Prague, received recommendations from Beethoven, intimate friend of Schubert
3. Leopold Eustachius Czapek (or Čapek) 1792-1840 3/8 C major Vivace molto legato 64 A Bohemian, friend of Chopin
4. Carl Czerny 1791-1857 3/4 C major None 64
5. Joseph Czerny 1785-1842 3/4 C major None 64 No relation to Carl Czerny
6. Moritz Graf von Dietrichstein 1775-1864 3/4 C major Tempo vivo del Thema 64 Dedicated to "Jos. Sigg"
7. Joseph Drechsler 1782-1852 3/4 C major AdagioAllegro 167 "Quasi overture"
8. Emanuel Aloys Förster 1748-1823 3/4 C major Allegro 294 "Capriccio" He died in November 1823; his posthumously published variation was his last composition. By far, this variation is the longest from the set.
9. Franz Jakob Freystädtler 1761-1841 9/8 C major None 64 A pupil of Mozart.
10. Johann Baptist Gänsbacher 1778-1844 3/4 C major None 64
11. Joseph Gelinek ("Abbé Gelinek") 1758-1825 3/4 C major Presto 128
12. Anton Halm 1789-1872 3/4 C major Dolce 64
13. Joachim Hoffmann 1788-1856 3/4 C major Vivo 80 "Fugato"
14. Johann Horzalka 1798-1860[8] 3/4 A-flat major Adagio 34
15. Joseph Huglmann (or Hugelmann) 1768-1839 3/4 A-flat major Allegro 64
16. Johann Nepomuk Hummel 1778-1837 3/4 C major None 64
17. Anselm Hüttenbrenner 1794-1868 3/4 C major Allegro 63
18. Friedrich Kalkbrenner 1785-1849 3/4 C major Allegro non troppo 64 A German by birth, he lived in London and Paris.
19. Friedrich August Kanne 1778-1833 3/4 C major None 64
20. Joseph Kerzkowsky 1791-? 3/4 F major Moderato con espressione 64 He cannot be identified with certainty; he was formerly believed to be the Polish violinist Kaczkowski.
21. Conradin Kreutzer 1780-1849 3/4 C major Vivace 64
22. Eduard Baron von Lannoy 1787-1853 3/4 C major None 64 Lannoy was an aristocratic amateur.
23. Maximilian Joseph Leidesdorf 1787-1840 3/4 C major Vivace 64 Also himself a publisher.
24. Franz Liszt 1811-1886 2/4 C minor Allegro 64 See Variation on a Waltz by Diabelli (Liszt), S. 147. He was aged only 7 at the time Diabelli sent out his invitations, and was still only 12 by the time Vaterländischer Künstlerverein was published. It is very likely that, being so young, he was not on Diabelli's invitation list, but that Carl Czerny, his teacher, arranged for his inclusion.
25. Joseph Mayseder 1789-1863 3/4 C major Allegro 64 Violinist, member of the Schuppanzigh String Quartet.[9]
26. Ignaz Moscheles 1794-1870 3/4 C major None 64
27. Ignaz Franz Edler von Mosel 1772-1844 3/4 C major None 64 Custodian of the Imperial Library.[9]
28. "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart fils" (= Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart) 1791-1844 3/4 C major Con fuoco 64 He was a son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He wrote two variations, only one being published; his second appears in later editions as Variation 28a.
29. Joseph Panny 1796-1838 6/8 A minor Allegro con brio 68
30. Hieronymus Payer 1787-1845 3/4 C major None 64
31. Johann Peter Pixis 1788-1874 3/4 C major None 64
32. Wenzel Plachy 1785-1858 3/4 C major Con fuoco 64 Bohemian organist
33. Gottfried Rieger 1764-1855 3/4 C major Allegro ma no troppo 64 Musical director at Brno. He wrote two variations, the second of which was rejected but was printed in later editions as Variation 33a.
34. Philipp Jakob Riotte 1776-1856 3/4 F minor
F major
Allegro 92
35. Franz Roser (Franz de Paula Roser) 1779-1830 6/8 A-flat major None 32 A theatre conductor
36. Johann Baptist Schenk 1753-1836 3/4 C major Moderato 120 "Caprice"
37. Franz Schoberlechner 1797-1843 3/4 C major None 64
38. Franz Schubert 1797-1828 3/4 C minor None 64 His variation is listed as D. 718 in the Deutsch catalogue of Schubert's works.
39. Simon Sechter 1788-1867 3/4 C major None 64 "Incitatio (or Imitatio) quasi Canon a 3 voci"
40. "S.R.D" (= Archduke Rudolf of Austria) 1788-1831 3/4 C major Allegro 136 "Fuga" "S.R.D" stands for Serenissimus Rudolfus Dux, one of Rudolf’s titles. He was an amateur composer who was a student of Beethoven's and dedicatee of his Archduke Trio, Hammerklavier Sonata and Emperor Concerto[2]
41. Maximilian Stadler 1748-1833 3/4 C major None 64
42. Joseph von Szalay (or de Szalay) 1800-1860 3/4 C major None 64 A student of Förster, Hummel and Antonio Salieri, and appeared as a pianist at age 9.
43. "Wenzel Johann Tomaschek" (= Václav Tomášek) 1774-1850 3/4 C major Tempo giusto 64 "Polonaise"
44. Michael Umlauf 1781-1842 3/4 C major Presto 64
45. "Friedrich Dionysius Weber" (= Bedřich Diviš Weber) 1766-1842 3/4 C major Con fuoco 64
46. Franz Weber 1805-1876 3/4 C major Brillante 64
47. Carl Angelus von Winkhler 1796-1845 4/4 C major Allegro con fuoco 64 An amateur composer at Pest
48. Franz Weiss 1778-1830 3/4 C major None 64 Violist, member of the Schuppanzigh String Quartet.[9]
49. "Johann Nepomuk August Wittasek" (= Jan August Vitásek) 1770-1839 3/4 C major Un poco moderato 64
50. "Johann Hugo Worzischek" (= Jan Václav Voříšek) 1791-1825 3/4 C major None 64
Coda Carl Czerny 1791-1857 3/4 Moves through various keys, ending in C major Vivace 199

Some of the composers gave no tempo indication, and they can be assumed to be played Vivace, as in the original theme.

Recordings and performances[edit]

Beethoven's Diabelli Variations have been recorded and performed innumerable times.

The remainder of Vaterländischer Künstlerverein has received very little attention since its publication. The complete set has been recorded by Rudolf Buchbinder[10][11] and Doris Adam.[9][12] Ian Fountain has recorded[13][14] a selection of thirty-three of the variations (resequenced based on the order in which he performed them during a Berlin concert),[15] preceded by Diabelli's theme and concluding with Czerny's coda. Martha Argerich has performed excerpts in concert.[16] In 2009 Professor Peter Roennfeldt performed the complete set in Brisbane, Australia.[9]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]