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  2. Beethoven: 6 Variations in F Major on an Original Theme, Op. 34
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The full-scale reprise of the theme that follows reaches a climax with a hint of a cadenza, before the elaborate flights of fancy are shrugged off with the simplest of conclusions. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Don't show me this message again.

March Total duration: Both, he claimed, were written 'in a quite new style and each in an entirely different way. Each theme in them is treated independently and in a wholly different manner. As a rule I only hear of it from others when I have new ideas, since I never know it myself; but this time—I myself can assure you that in both works the style is quite new for me.

Even the form of the whole which deviates so very much from common fare bears witness to his undeniable genius. Beautifully and naturally, one is emerging out of the other, however, the reviewer can not suppress the wish that the bass of the second part of the theme, there, where the beginning appears entirely naked, the bass might have been a little bit more important, which, of course--even if this change would have been easy for Hr. After this introduction with its gradually growing parts, the theme itself emerges, and from it Hr. In order not to let the review of this very important little work--of course, not by the number of sheets, alone, is there not many an opera about which one can not say half as much--grow into a book, the reviewer has to confine himself to only refer to that which is most important and to add a few reminiscences.

B's works, and be it only superficially, will very likely without the reviewer's assurance be convinced that here, he is neither offered used-up figures nor meagre harmonies as their accompaniment. However, there will hardly be a Beethoven admirer--and to their honor I am inclined to believe that their number is quite large--who, even in the event that he has the highest expectations, nevertheless, will be most pleasantly surprised by the highly genial figures, breaks and the rhythm of the third variation, by the unexpected, unassuming return to E-flat Major in the last three bars of the sixth variation, and particularly by the spirited self-will of the thenth variation.

Likewise, the twelfth Variation is comprised of a beuatiful and really important figure. However, particularly well-written is, in the reviewer's opinion, the Minore of Variation 14, the Largo of Variation 15, and the Finale fugato. Initially, in the Minore, the bass of the theme serves as the upper register and then, in the repetition, as the lower register.


The Largo with its treasure of new, splendid ideas will certainly provide great pleasure to everyone who is able to conquer his own difficulties in such a manner that their execution does not reveal any of the strain that might have been required to render the piece that contains them. Everything has to flow easily and evenly, as if it were fun. Of course, what is being discussed here is only finger mechanism: The fugue-style fragment of the theme only consists of a few bass notes,.

The reviewer finds that one of the excellent, fortunate ideas, after the theme has shown itself as middle part here, as upper part there, always correctly supported by its accompaniment, or at least by a figure that is very similar to it not even to mention the interesting turning games of the harmonies, turns etc. It is the last measure of the 5th system on the 17th page. Also the secquence of thoughts up to the insertion in B flat, the end on the same page, amongst so much excellence deserves special mention.

However, let it be enough with this, since that which has been mentioned might suffice, in itself, to awaken the curiosity in the work, of all connoisseurs and educated art lovers. Just a few remarks to the composer. Instead of the first four measures of the 2nd clause of the 5th Variation, the reviewer would have liked to hear something different out of the rich inventiveness of Hr.

Beethoven: 6 Variations in F Major on an Original Theme, Op. 34

While the Canon in the octave, Var. What o n l y speaks to the mind in a work of art, is at least an hors d'oeuvre. And that emotion has been short-changed in this Canon, Hr. The strict analogy between this and the fourth measure, where the upper register progesses similar to it in thirds, can impossibly sweeten the tartness, which becomes evident in the mentioned part of this measure. It is even more promiment there where the same passage returns in another refraction. The last eighth of the twelfth measure in the bass has to read like this.

Thus, the progression on Page 21, from the 5th to the 6th measure in the bass is also incorrect; at least, to put it midly, of lesser quality, as if it were written thus: The same applies, with a small change, where there soon follows a similar passage, which is based on the same harmony. Those who want to study these variations, the reviewer can, in order to encourage them to persevere, reassure them that, in the event that they should be successful in executing all those many difficulties with ease,in mastering every prescribed expression exactly as indicated so that it will sound like a fresh emotion, then there will certainly be no composition that they would have to set aside as inexecutable.

Bach's fugues, enough practice is being provided here. In short, whoever performs these variations exactly as they have been written, without any visible strain, belongs to the foremost pianists. It should be understaood that here, I am neither addressing virtuosos nor the genius. Outstanding talents, as well as those who are not pianists nor want to become pianists, may disregard the following.

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In the 5th variation one has to watch out that the hand already rests above the keyboard a moment before striking the full chord. Otherwise, the playing will become angular and not suitable to the peculiar rhythm -- a jerking that is least agreeable, here. The successful playing of the 10th variation will also facilitate the observation of the same recollection; only, the left hand has to preferably set in determinedly and, so-to-say, "throw" the finger of the previous note towards that of the next note.

For example, beginning with the fifth and thus, in alternation, jumping to the 4th, 5th, 2nd. However, every other expression would be unsuitable for this figure. With respect to the 15th Var. The reviewer still particularly warns with respect to the too often used tempo rubato, that only all too often is aimed at veiling a lack of true feeling for time, but in vain. The experienced eye will not be fooled by any veiling.

Here, in the 15th Var. Nevertheless it always should be heard, as much as possible. Of the fugue-style finale holds true what should be observed in all fugue-style movements: Still, in this, the reviewer points out that the player should alternate in this from one hand to the other at some time there, where this is not evident from the direction of the note tails but rather where only convenience decides, but always without, in the least, taking anything away from the import of the notes, themselves.

What has been said about the hands here, also applies to the fingers, on page 19, system 2, bar 2, where the trill that before was effected by the 2nd and 3rd fingers, now has to be continued in the entire sequence, by the thumb and the index finger. However, these comments should suffice. Paper and etching are very good, although there have crept in a few small errors, for example, on page 12, bar 7, before William Kinderman opens our "round" on Op. Both works introduce features that overcome the basically static and additive nature of Classical variation technique.

The tonal plan of op. The successive variations do not remain in the expected tonic but appear in keys forming a chain of descending thirds, leading from the tonic, F major, through D major, B-flat major, G major, E-flat major and C minor, a short extension to the fifth variation elaborates the dominant seventh on C, preparing the F major cadence at the beginning of the final variation, which closes the circle of falling thirds. This variation reminds us of the original theme in more compelling terms than the intervening ones highly individualized and marked by strong contrasts, with frequent changes of metre ; the set concludes with an ornately decorated reprise of the theme, marked Adagio molto " Kinderman: Barry Cooper offers us a detailed description: When he and Carl wrote to Breitkopf on 18 October they described the sets as containing eight and thirty variations respectively.

In the score they appear to contain only six and fifteen, which has led some writers to conclude that they were still far from finished when the letters were written; but, as Beethoven explained in a letter, the total depends on the method of counting, for each set contains irregularities. A closer study of the music shows that Carl's claim, echoed by Beethoven's letter, that the variations 'can be counted' as eight and thirty, is justifiable. Hence both sets were probably virtually complete by 18 October. Far more significant, however, is the extraordinary originality of the structures shown above.

To present the whole work falling apart, he had to use some unifying factor, and this was the opening phrase, which recurs several times in each variation and is often left more or less intact. The "Coda' includes some motivic development, while the final, unnumbered variation brings the work full circle by resuming the initial metre and tempo, facilitating some highly florid decoration.

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Sudden changes of key and metre in successive variations enable Beethoven to explore the device of thematic transformation--one of the three basic ways along with decoration and development in which a theme can be manipulated. The device was far from new, having been used in pairs of dances in the sixteenth century and in more extended from in variation suites of the early seventeenth century, where several dances in various rhythms were based on the same thematic material.

But Beethoven's approach is different metres and keys which utterly transform not just its rhythm but its character: He also combines transformation with decoration in Vars. Beethoven was to exploit thematic transformation in several later works, but never again so thoroughly and systematically as here. Apart from their length, complexity, and high level of originality, both sets of variations possess a range of character and emotions more characteristic of a sonata than variations, and as a result Beethoven decided to give them opus numbers, which he had not done for any of his previous sets" Cooper: Lewis Lockwood describes the most important innovation of these Variations as follows: Successive keys are separated by descending thirds, a pattern sometimes associated with development sections of sonata-form first movement.

L. V. Beethoven - 6 Variations on an Original Theme in F major, Op. 34

The whole moves from the basic F major down through successive major keys, arriving at C minor, which then easily converts to C major as dominant of the home tonic: Maynard Solomon opens our "round" on Op. Kinderman's concise comment even foreshadows the Diabelli Variations: The subsequent appearance of the actual theme, together with its bass, thus represents in a sense the fourth variation, but Beethoven's numbering begins only after this statement of the composite theme.

In its fully harmonized form the theme was used earlier as the seventh of the Contredances for Orchestra WoO 14 and in the Prometheus ballet op. Opening with the basso del tema enables Beethoven to emphasize its comic aspects, particularly the three fortissimo B-flat octaves in its second half, which are surrounded by rests, creating a humour of expressive silences. In the ninth and especially the thirteenth variations, this stress on B-flat is developed as a pedal throughout the first half, with amusing effect. The Minore , the 14th variation, and Maggiore , the 15th--a majestic, decorated Largo --represent a new section in the overall formal progression, which culminates in the powerful fugal finale.

In its structural grandeur and comprehensive range of expression this set anticipates the greatest of Beethoven's works in this genre, the 33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli op. Coopers following comment can be considered a continuation of his comment on Op. The structure of Op. The Prometheus Variations as Beethoven wanted them called show an equally extraordinary structure, although some of its features have become familiar through the finale of the Eroica Symphony, which is based on the same theme.

After an opening chord, Beethoven begins with just the bass line of the theme. This would be strange enough with an ordinary bass line, but here the third quarter consists entirely of rests and repeated notes, which scarcely seems like music at all! This bass line is followed by three variations in which one, two, then three other parts are added as counterpoint, respectively above, around, and below the original bass. Only then does the well-known tune and it was already well-known in Vienna by appear. Thus the stiff, unharmonized bass line seems gradually brought to life during four variations--an echo of the Prometheus ballet in which the statues were brought to life.

In the ensuing variations it is the theme, not the bass line, that provides the thematic bass, but the bass takes over in the 'finale', where its first four notes form the subject of an elaborate fugue, which leads to further variations of the tune to round off the work.

Lockwood begins his comment with a reference to the erroneous description of these Variations as "Eorica" Varations: This great work, the culmination of Beethoven's early variation sets, is often miscalled the "Eroica" Variations, because its introduction and thematic material directly foreshadow the finale of the Eroica Symphony. But Beethoven also used the same material in two other works: In any case, Opus 35 is a milestone in the history of variation.

Its introduction dramatically unfolds several elements in order, as if Beethoven, at the keyboard instead of writing in a sketchbook, was sequentially building the thematic material before the very ears of the listener. First we hear only the bass of the theme; then come multiple counterpoints to it in successively higher registers; then the theme, the upper-line melody, sails in at last in a high register, completing the basic material on which fifteen very elaborate and virtuosic variations can be based.

The climax of the work is a closing fugue on the theme's bass line, crowned at last with a great peroration that reintroduces the theme in high register and then carries it to a ringing climax as it falls to the bass register amid resounding figuration patterns. The whole anticipates the Eroica finale in broad outline, but there, of course, it is recomposed as a grand symphonic finale.

The "Prometheus" Variations are the grandest of all Beethoven's early variations sets, a work that matches and overshadows such earlier efforts as the "Righini" Variations. It points the way to the orchestra-like keyboard writing of his middle period and his later piano writing, including that of the later piano concertos" Lockwood: For these two variation works, we can offer you a link to interesting listening samples at Classical Music Archives that also offers a "live" recording: A more lively impression can be gained by taking a look at the following correspondence by Ferdinand Ries and Beethoven: Vienna, August 6, Now, he has written Variations on 2 English songs,[11] if you, perhaps, want to have them, I could speak to him about it.

I would only ask that you write to me how much you want to invest in them. According to the GA, the text is incomplete, since obviously, the ending is missing; to [11]: Ich trage ihnen folgende Werke um fl. I zwei Werke Variationen wovon in einem die V. I offer you the following works for fl.: I two Variation works of which the one are on God save the King [3], and the others on Rule Britannia[4]; With respect to his motivation for their composition, Solomon and Cooper refer to different possibilities: Beethoven was much impressed by his British reception.

The latter were probably commissioned by some anglophile, since they are based on two patriotic British songs: With respect to their m usical content, Cooper writes: The 'Rule Britannia' set, however, is much more innovative. Here Thomas Arne's melody disappears altogether in most of the variations, which retain only an approximation to the harmonic outline of the original. The minor-key variation Var. In order for us to gain a lively impression of them, we might want to explore the following link to midi listening samples: Thayer-Forbes notes that this work belongs to the year They belong to this autumn.

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Barry Cooper also tries to trace the composition in Beethoven's sketchbooks of this time: Its precise position within the chronology of his works is unclear: Maynard Solomon refers to a possible reason for their composition: It probably was written in response to the continuing demand for such works by his publishers: How Beethoven would later judge this work himself is related by Thayer-Forbes: They belong to this autumn, and are among the compositions which their author would gladly have seen pass into oblivion. Jahn's notes contain an anecdote in point. After he had listened for a while he asked her: Oh Beethoven, what an ass you were!

Trente deux Variations p.

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Also in this work, B. By rendering them in this manner, B. He takes this brief, utterly simple theme: The variations require a player who can not only overcome considerable difficulties, but also one who is serious; however, these variations are by far not the most difficult of B's piano pieces. The etching is good. Let us now take a look at Maynard Solomon's more 'recent' comment: The set of C-minor Piano variations on an original theme, WoO 80, was seriously underrated by Beethoven, who assigned it no opus number and scoffed at himself "Oh Beethoven, what an ass you were! William Kinderman describes this work also as "important, but old-fashioned": This piece was seriously underestimated by Beethoven himself, who referred to it disparagingly and failed to assign it an opus number.

The C minor Variations are strongly reminiscent of a Baroque chaconne, employing a short, eight-bar theme with a chromatically descending ground bass. Beethoven often effectively overcomes the terseness of the theme by grouping the variations together, as in nos. These groupings by no means exhaust the many relationships between individual variations, which are based on general rhythmic and textural features and on modal contract the Maggiore section, Variations , for example, embraces two of these groupings, and provides large-scale contrast after the agitated variation pair no.

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Variation 31 provides a reprise of the original theme above an arpeggiated accompaniment, whereas in variation 32 a rhythmic elaboration of the theme leads upwards in register to the high C three octaves above middle C, marking the beginning of the coda. This high C occurs for the first time among the sonatas in op. Cooper describes this work as "very original": He evidently did not regard it as a major work, for he published it without dedication or opus number, merely giving it a plain number No. Yet it is another highly original work. The theme is only eight bars long, creating a compressed intensity that foreshadows the Fifth Symphony, but its brevity is compensated by an unusually large number of variations--thirty-two in all--and an extended coda.

In the variations, it is the harmonic outline of the theme, rather than its melodic shape, that tends to be preserved, suggesting a chaconne rather than a set of variations, and indeed the theme uses the traditional chaconne rhythm and metre. But Beethoven maintains a delicate balance between harmony and melody, and in some variations, such as Var. Metre and tempo remain unchanged throughout--another echo of the chaconne--and many of the variations run smoothly into the following ones, creating a very strong sense of powerful, monolithic unity" Cooper: Let us round our look at contemporary comments off with Lewis Lockwood's: The first remarkable thing about the set is the theme, a mere eight measures long, which uses the traditional descending chromatic bass line C-G-a standard Baroque passacaglia theme--as its basic material, with a melody above it rising from the first to the sixth scale step.