Diabelli Variations
First all-Australian recording

In 2010 the final recording in this monumental project, Beethoven’s “33 Variations on a waltz theme by Anton Diabelli” was released (with Andante favori and Für Elise). The instrument Willems used was Wayne Stuart’s latest creation, with 14 extra keys. Which produces an enhanced resonance that gives the great work a unique Australian voice. Listening to the sound Willems produces with the Stuart piano, you instantly understand that Beethoven didn’t write the Diabelli Variations to be played on an 1820s 73 key piano.
Beethoven Recording Project
The first seed in the Beethoven Recording Project was sown in 1993, when the pianist Gerard Willems met piano maker Wayne Stuart who was developing his Australian grand piano. Willems spent hours playing this innovative instrument, and was impressed with its power and clarity of sound.
Two years later, as fate would have it, Willems met television producer Brendan Ward in Sydney. While studying for a piano diploma, Ward had been surprised to find that no Australian pianist had recorded the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven, so he decided to fill in what he regarded as a missing piece of Australia’s cultural landscape. Ward heard Willems perform at a Beethoven masterclass and set out to persuade him to climb the Everest of recording projects. It took Willems many months to agree to Ward’s proposal - his one condition being to record the works on a Stuart Piano.
Recordings of the sonatas commenced in 1997 and were completed in 2000. Ward then challenged Willems to record Beethoven’s five piano concertos and the notorious Diabelli Variations. The concerto recordings followed four years later, including filming the iconic Emperor Concerto for a DVD. All recordings were released on Australia’s premier classical music label, ABC Classics. To complete what had then become Australia’s biggest classical music recording project and the challenge thrown down by Ward ten years earlier, Gerard Willems recorded the Diabelli Variations for ABC Classics in 2010, again choosing a Stuart & Sons pianos,
Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120
1. Tema: Vivace
2. Variation I: AlIa Marcia maestoso
3. Variation II: Poco allegro
4. Variation III: L'istesso tempo
5. Variation IV: Un poco piu vivace
6. Variation V: Allegro vivace
7. Variation VI: Allegro ma non troppo e serioso
8. Variation VII: Un poco piu allegro
9. Variation VIII: Poco vivace
10. Variation IX: Allegro pesante e risoluto
11. Variation X: Presto
12. Variation XI: Allegretto
13. Variation XII: Un poco piu moto
14. Variation XIII: Vivace
15. Variation XIV: Grave e maestoso
16. Variation XV: Presto scherzando
17. Variation XVI: Allegro
18. Variation XVII: Allegro
19. Variation XVIII: Poco moderato
20. Variation XIX: Presto
21. Variation XX: Andante
22. Variation XXI: Allegro con brio - Meno allegro
23. Variation XXII: Allegro molto
24. Variation XXIII: Allegro assai
25. Variation XXIV: Fughetta: Andante
26. Variation XXV: Allegro
27. Variation XXVI: Piacevole
28. Variation XXVII: Vivace
29. Variation XXVIII: Allegro
30. Variation XXIX: Adagio ma non troppo
31. Variation XXX: Andante, sempre cantabile
32. Variation XXXI: Largo, molto espressivo
33. Variation XXXII: Fuga: Allegro
34. Variation XXXIII: Tempo di Menuetto moderato
35. Andante in F major 'Andante favori', WoO 57
36. Bagatelle in A minor 'Fur Elise', WoO 59



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