Beethoven’s “Tarnhelm” variation

We have seen how Grieg formed an entire harmonic vernacular for a short piece of music, Klokkeklang (Bells), and how a performance of this piece might be informed by these peculiar characteristics. Here I examine how Beethoven does something not dissimilar in his 20th Diabelli variation. The many differences between Klokkeklang and the Diabelli Variations need not be elaborated […]

William Kinderman: Beethoven’s thirteenth Diabelli variation

The comic Vivace that forms the thirteenth of the 33 variations exploits contrasts of rhythm, dynamics, and register. The initial dotted figure energizes the thrust to the downbeat, reflecting but intensifying the model of Diabelli’s waltz, as Beethoven employs full-voiced A-minor chords in place of the lighter sonorities of the waltz. While so reformulating Diabelli’s […]

Beethoven’s Andante Favori

The Andante Favori was initially intended to be the second movement of Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata, but it ended up as a standalone work. Had it been the second movement of the muscular and heroic “Waldstein,” it would have inevitably been compared to the outer movements, but fortunately, as a separate work, we can focus on its qualities without drawing any comparisons.