Anton Diabelli

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Anton (or Antonio) Diabelli (5 September 1781 – 8 April 1858) was an Austrian music publisher, editor and composer. Best known in his time as a publisher, he is most familiar today as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.[1]


Early Life

Diabelli was born in Mattsee near Salzburg. A musical child, he sang in the boys' choir at the Salzburg Cathedral where he is believed to have taken music lessons with Michael Haydn. By age 19, Diabelli had already composed several important compositions, including six masses.

Diabelli was trained to enter the priesthood and in 1800 he joined the monastery at Raitenhaslach, Bavaria. [1] He remained there until 1803 when Bavaria closed all its monasteries.


In 1803 Diabelli moved to Vienna and began teaching piano and guitar and found work as a proofreader for a music publisher. During this period he learned the music publishing business while continuing to compose. In 1809 he composed his comic opera, Adam in der Klemme. In 1817 he started a music publishing business and 1818, partnered with Pietro Cappi to create the music publishing firm of Cappi & Diabelli.

The firm, Cappi & Diabelli became well known by arranging popular pieces so they could be played by amateurs at home. A master of promotion, Diabelli selected widely-accessible music such as famous opera tune arrangements, dance music, or hundreds of the latest popular comic theater songs

The firm soon established a reputation in more serious music circles by championing the works of Franz Schubert. It was Diabelli who first recognized the composer's potential, become the very first to publish Schubert's work with Der Erlkönig in 1821. Diabelli's firm continued to publish Schubert's work until 1823 when an argument between Cappi and Schubert terminated their business. The following year, Diabelli and Cappi parted ways, with Diabelli launching a new publishing house, Diabelli & Co, in 1824.

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