Questions in the "Diabelli" Variations
If there were music to satisfy
Schnabel's dictum that it should be "greater than any performance
of it could possibly be," Beethoven's "Diabelli"
Variations, op.120, would surely qualify. Their interpretive possibilities,
determined by a performer's creative temperament and historical-cultural
frame of reference, are practically inexhaustible. Drawing on the recorded
performance tradition, I would like to characterize and evaluate some
of the solutions to the most complex questions of interpretation confronting
a pianist in this work.