Things got snarky early on

The Diabelli Variation, reviewed by Peter Burwasser in the Broad Street Review:

…The story of the origins of the Diabelli Variations became the inspiration for a landmark celebration for a vital Philadelphia musical institution, the Network for New Music, now a quarter-century old. Founder and artistic director Linda Reichert returned to Diabelli’s original conceit, calling for 25 new variations on the original theme, as composed by 25 composers, mostly Philadelphia-based, and all with some connection to the ensemble over the years.…

After the same original theme that Beethoven used was heard on the solo piano, the full ensemble of flute, clarinet cello and piano carried off the first variation, that of Robert Maggio, a jaunty, easy-to-digest number designed to put a smile on the listener’s face. As with Beethoven’s set, things got snarky early on, with a wispy fantasia for solo piano by Kile Smith leading to anxious, even angry music by Cynthia Folio, Richard C. Broadhead and Robert Capanna. Beethoven used sly humor to break up the flow of his pieces, as was the case here, with quicksilver gracefulness from Melinda Wagner, Andrea Clearfield, Maurice Wright and Arne Running.…

More here.

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