Among the early announcements for next year’s Beethoven frenzy – if not for his chronic health, the composer would have been 250 – comes the intriguing news that Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder has invited 11 living composers to write their own variations on the theme at the heart of Beethoven’s famous Diabelli Variations. His illustrious list of chosen contributors are Krzysztof Penderecki, Rodion Shchedrin, Max Richter, Jörg Widmann, Toshio Hosokawa, Lera Auerbach, Brad Lubman, Philippe Manoury, Johannes Maria Staud, Tan Dun and Australia’s own Brett Dean.

Brett Dean Brett Dean. Photo © Richard Hubert Smith

“I was approached by Rudolf Buchbinder directly; in fact, I received a hand-written letter from him, a rare treasure to receive nowadays,” Dean told Limeight. “We’d got to know one another during my time as Composer-in-Residence at his Grafenegg Festival some years ago and became very fond of one another. I was very interested to be part of it from the outset; I love Rudi’s playing of the great central European classical and romantic repertoire and that made the idea all the more appealing; to delve into this project around such a cornerstone of piano literature with a great...

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