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 massive 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 utterly forgotten.
Vaterländischer Künstlerverein has various translations, including "Patriotic Artists' Association", "Art Association of the Fatherland", "Patriotic Culture Club", "Fatherland's Society of Artists", "National Artists' Association", "Native Artist's Association" and "Native Society of Artists".
In 1819, 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. Carl Czerny was asked to also provide a coda as a suitable way of rounding out the collection. 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 and Franz Schubert's variation is known to have been written in March 1821. 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.
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 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, and Diabelli had joined with Anton Spina and renamed the firm Diabelli & Co. 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.
Part I, by Beethoven
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
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:
|Tempo marking||Number of measures
|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||Adagio – Allegro||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||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.|
|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.|
|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 –
|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|
|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.|
|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
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 and Doris Adam. Ian Fountain has recorded a selection of thirty-three of the variations (resequenced based on the order in which he performed them during a Berlin concert), preceded by Diabelli's theme and concluding with Czerny's coda. Martha Argerich has performed excerpts in concert. In 2009 Professor Peter Roennfeldt performed the complete set in Brisbane, Australia.
- Eric Blom (ed.), Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed. (1954), Vol. VIII, pp. 690–692
- Vaterländische Künstlerverein: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed. 1954, Eric Blom, ed.
- Paul F. Zweifel
- Raptus Association
- Roennfeldt, Peter. The (50) Variations (not by Beethoven) on a theme by Diabelli—monstrosity or monument?. 9th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference 2009.
- Tanja Dorn.com
- Beethoven - Diabelli's Waltz; Complete Variations
- Variationen über einen Walzer von Diabelli
- Connaught Artists
- The Diabelli Collection: Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli
- Program notes of recording, p.3. 1999 by Chris de Souza
- Martha Argerich Recordings