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Diabelli - Variation 9

Diabelli score Var 9


Variations 9 – 11: “Turning” the ridiculous into the sublime, part one.

Up until this point, Beethoven has already had some fun at Diabelli’s expense. From the very beginning he seems almost to mock the whole enterprise by trading in the “waltz” for a march. He consistently (and insistently) draws attention to Diabelli’s little cheat (the rosalia) by utilizing ever more creative ways to move the harmony to the final phrase of each half of the variation. It’s hard not to see the humor in much of what has come so far.

With variation 9, humor gives way to satire and parody as the entire variation is built upon the almost insignificant turn at the very beginning of the theme. But while he’s having fun he nevertheless takes the time to replace the first half’s rosalia with a passage containing all three possible diminished 7th chords, and the second half’s with an enharmonic progression leading chromatically back to the tonic. Way to rub it in, Louis!

Brendel’s title for this one is Industrious nutcracker

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