The purpose of this recording project is to highlight Anton Diabelli’s Sonata in C major, Op. 37 for Piano Four Hands. Very few piano duet teams are aware of the many wonderful sonatas by Diabelli and it seems from our research that none have been recorded. We have selected Op. 37 to record since this sonata is the most musically developed and entertaining in our opinion.
Our duet team frequently programs four-hand sonatas by Diabelli in our recitals and it is our hope that more pianists will recognize the value of these obscure works and employ them in their own performance and teaching. With the limited number of standard piano four-hand works in the repertoire, we hope that this project will help expand this repertoire at least in a small way.
Recording Date: November 12, 2012
Recording Location: Claflin University
Ensemble Type: Piano Duet
Performer: Duo Korusa
About the Music
Composer: Anton Diabelli
Instrumentation: Piano Duet
Music Styles: Classical
Much like the composer, pianists, piano pedagogues, and aficionados have largely forgotten the Sonata in C major Op. 37 for Piano Four Hands by Anton Diabelli. However this sonata deserves a place in the mainstream repertoire owing to a melodic tunefulness and quirky charm that is very audience accessible.
Schubert is generally regarded as the first composer who made the piano duet into a higher art form, so perhaps Diabelli’s close connection to Schubert as his publisher might have stimulated Diabelli’s desire to write this and other four-hand sonatas. Although it can be assumed they were likely written between 1820 and 1840, their anachronistic style includes many of the techniques of Classical period. Each sonata has similar movement structure, reminiscent of the comic operas of Mozart or Rossini: the first movement is in a style of operatic overture, the second movement lyrical aria, and the last movement cheerful dance or rondo. We also can find Beethovenian influence in these sonatas. Diabelli’s frequent use of harmonic surprises, unusual harmonic direction involving diminished seventh chords, modulations, syncopation, and sforzando are good examples. Diabelli’s sonatas also feature vivid interactive dialogue between primo and secondo particularly in contrast to similar sonatas by Mozart.
Although not overwhelmingly difficult either from a technical or musical standpoint, professional duet teams would find this sonata an effective and satisfying opener for a recital.
Sonata in C major, Op. 37, for Piano Four Hands, by Anton Diabelli