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Stephen Kovacevich - Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Stephen Kovacevich

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Thirty-eight years old and still fabulous, Stephen Kovacevich's 1968 recording of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations sounds as good as new in this 2006 reissue. Certainly, a large part of the reason is the quality of the sound. The Dutch Philips label was one of the great classical companies of the stereo era and its piano sound was highly regarded for its clarity, warmth, and depth. But the larger part of the reason is the quality of Kovacevich's performance. A superb pianist with a subtle touch and an effortless technique, Kovacevich excelled at many composers' music, but he was a born Beethoven player: a pianist with high ideals, deep sensitivities, and a commanding interpretive personality. In between his earliest EMI Beethoven recordings from the '60s and his much later EMI recordings of Beethoven's complete sonatas from the '90s, Kovacevich had a contract with Philips for which he recorded, among other things, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. And what a recording it was, is, and remains! Kovacevich has the wit and the lightness of touch to make the slighter variations seem more evanescently transcendent than usual and the soul and the strength of will to make the heavier variations seem even more inexorably profound than usual. Plus, Kovacevich has the intellect to make the nearly hour-long work hold together as if performed in a single breath. While most Beethoven fans will already have multiple recordings of the Diabelli Variations, Kovacevich's 1968 recording is surely worth adding to the shelf.
© TiVo

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations

Stephen Kovacevich

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33 Piano Variations in C, Op.120 on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli (Various Composers)

1
Tema (Vivace) - Variation I (Alla marcia maestoso)
00:02:24

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

2
Variation II (Poco allegro)
00:00:41

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

3
Variation III (L'istesso tempo)
00:01:25

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

4
Variation IV (Un poco più vivace)
00:00:55

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

5
Variation V (Allegro vivace)
00:00:53

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

6
Variation VI (Allegro ma non troppo e serioso)
00:01:54

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

7
Variation VII (Un poco più allegro)
00:01:05

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

8
Variation VIII (Poco vivace)
00:01:37

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

9
Variation IX (Allegro pesante e risoluto)
00:01:49

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

10
Variation X (Presto)
00:00:37

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

11
Variation XI (Allegretto)
00:01:08

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

12
Variation XII (Un poco più moto)
00:00:56

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

13
Variation XIII (Vivace)
00:01:05

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

14
Variation XIV (Grave e maestoso)
00:05:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

15
Variation XV (Presto scherzando)
00:00:35

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

16
Variation XVI (Allegro)
00:01:02

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

17
Variation XVII
00:01:02

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

18
Variation XVIII (Poco moderato)
00:01:28

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

19
Variation XIX (Presto)
00:00:49

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

20
Variation XX (Andante)
00:02:06

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

21
Variation XXI (Allegro con brio - Meno allegro - Tempo I)
00:01:06

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

22
Variation XXII (Allegro molto): Alla "Notte e giorno faticar" di Mozart
00:00:45

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

23
Variation XXIII (Allegro assai)
00:00:51

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

24
Variation XXIV: Fughetta (Andante)
00:03:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

25
Variation XXV (Allegro)
00:00:47

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

26
Variation XXVI
00:01:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

27
Variation XXVII (Vivace)
00:00:56

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

28
Variation XXVIII (Allegro)
00:00:52

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

29
Variation XXIX (Adagio ma non troppo)
00:01:28

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

30
Variation XXX (Andante, sempre cantabile)
00:02:06

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

31
Variation XXXI (Largo, molto espressivo)
00:05:05

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

32
Variation XXXII: Fuga (Allegro - Poco adagio)
00:02:50

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

33
Variation XXXIII (Tempo di minuetto moderato, ma non tirarsi dietro)
00:04:09

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Stephen Kovacevich, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vittorio Negri, Producer, Recording Producer - Ko Witteveen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gerard Janszen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1968 Universal International Music B.V.

Album Description

Thirty-eight years old and still fabulous, Stephen Kovacevich's 1968 recording of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations sounds as good as new in this 2006 reissue. Certainly, a large part of the reason is the quality of the sound. The Dutch Philips label was one of the great classical companies of the stereo era and its piano sound was highly regarded for its clarity, warmth, and depth. But the larger part of the reason is the quality of Kovacevich's performance. A superb pianist with a subtle touch and an effortless technique, Kovacevich excelled at many composers' music, but he was a born Beethoven player: a pianist with high ideals, deep sensitivities, and a commanding interpretive personality. In between his earliest EMI Beethoven recordings from the '60s and his much later EMI recordings of Beethoven's complete sonatas from the '90s, Kovacevich had a contract with Philips for which he recorded, among other things, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations. And what a recording it was, is, and remains! Kovacevich has the wit and the lightness of touch to make the slighter variations seem more evanescently transcendent than usual and the soul and the strength of will to make the heavier variations seem even more inexorably profound than usual. Plus, Kovacevich has the intellect to make the nearly hour-long work hold together as if performed in a single breath. While most Beethoven fans will already have multiple recordings of the Diabelli Variations, Kovacevich's 1968 recording is surely worth adding to the shelf.
© TiVo

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