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Volume 11 • Number 2

Fall 2004


 

 

"Diabelli" Variations: Uri Caine and Concerto Koln

by Scott DeVeaux

Uri Caine and Concerto Köln. "Diabelli" Variations. Munich: Winter & Winter, 2002. 910 086–2.

Uri Caine is probably someone whose name has yet to cross the threshold of Beethoven Forum. A pianist with an arch wit and an education that places him somewhere between classical music and jazz, Caine has situated his work at the boundary between art music and its clever deconstruction. His previous recordings have matched Mahler and Wagner with klezmer, and Schumann's Dichterlieder with weeping country guitars, Japanese poetry, and Latin grooves. Most impressively, his seventy-two-variation remaking of the "Goldberg" Variations crashed Bach's contrapuntal masterpiece against the staggering variety of styles and instrumentations available in the late twentieth century—not only Baroque, Classical, and Romantic, but also jazz, salsa, experimental music, and hiphop. Now he's moved to Beethoven, with an orchestrated version of the "Diabelli" Variations that is as deeply stimulating as it is unsettling.

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