Diabelli Variations, op. 120

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The 33 Variations on a waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120, commonly known as the Diabelli Variations, is a set of variations for the piano written between 1819 and 1823 by Ludwig van Beethoven on a waltz composed by Anton Diabelli. It is often considered to be one of the greatest sets of variations for keyboard along with J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, and it has even been considered to be among the greatest of piano works. Beethoven's approach to the theme is to take some of its smallest elements – the opening turn, the descending fourth and fifth, the repeated notes – and build upon them pieces of great imagination, power and subtlety. Beethoven does not seek variety by using key-changes, staying with Diabelli's C-major for most of the set. The work has been qualified as a 'microcosm of Beethoven's art', with a treatment variety unparalleled. In his Structural Functions of Harmony, Arnold Schoenberg writes that the Diabelli Variations "in respect of its harmony, deserves to be called the most adventurous work by Beethoven".

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