Diabelli, Anton

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Diabelli, Anton

Diabelli, Anton, Austrian composer and publisher; b. Mattsee, near Salzburg, Sept. 5, 1781; d. Vienna, April 8, 1858. He was a choirboy in the monastery at Michaelbeurn, and at Salzburg Cathedral. He studied for the priesthood at the Munich Latin School, but continued his musical work, submitting his compositions to Michael Haydn, who encouraged him. On the secularization of the Bavarian monasteries, Diabelli, who had already entered that at Raichenhaslach, embraced the career of a musician, went to Vienna (where Joseph Haydn received him kindly), taught piano and guitar for a living, and in 1818 became a partner of Cappi, the music publisher, assuming control of the firm (Diabelli & Co.) in 1824. He publ. much of Schubert’s music, but underpaid the composer, and complained that he wrote too much. In 1852 he sold his firm to C.A. Spina. A facile composer, Diabelli produced an opéra, Adam in der Klemme (Vienna, 1809; 1 perf.), masses, cantatas, chamber music, etc., which were consigned to oblivion; however, his sonatinas are still used for beginners. His name was immortalized through Beethoven’s set of 33 variations (op. 120) on a waltz theme by Diabelli.


A. Weinmann, Verlagsverzeichnis A. D. & Co., 1824 bis 1840 (Vienna, 1985).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire