UPDATE: As a result of the two comments above (thanks again Taneyev!) – I’ve replaced the “sleeping pianist”! with the master Maurizio Pollini
If you Google stuff like: Greatest Piano pieces or Greatest Piano Compositions; you’ll find a wealth of information. And you’ll almost always find in the list: Beethoven’s Variations on a theme by Diabelli. It’s a really strange story.
This guy Diabelli who wasn’t exactly a shining star in the composition world at the time! – Asked all the “Greats” of the day, to compose some variations on this roughly 1 minute piece. Then he would use the proceeds for charitable donations. (perhaps a forerunner of Bob Geldorf!?)
So what does Beethoven do? He composes 33 Variations on this piddly little theme! (*the critics evaluation of Diabelli’s initial effort range from praise, all the way to this trashing by critic William Kinderman, who says: “Banal, trite, a beer hall waltz”)
The full story is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabelli_
(AND you get to listen to bits of Beethoven’s Masterwork)
First we have the original piece by Diabelli, followed by Beethoven. I’ve only included 6 of the 33 variations he did. Afterall … how many “Piano Freaks” are there out there?!
Now … here’s what “The Man” – The Big B … did with them. NOTE: Some of the variations are often included in the most difficult to play categorie.