Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky (Arensky)
Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a, a piece for string orchestra by Anton Arensky, started out as the slow movement of his String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 35. It was written in 1894, the year after the death of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, in a tribute to that composer. It was based on the theme from the song "Legend: Christ in His Garden", the fifth of Sixteen Children’s Songs, Op. 54.
At the first performance of the quartet, the slow movement was so well received that Arensky soon arranged it as a separate piece for string orchestra, Op. 35a, in which form it has remained among the most popular of all Arensky’s works.
The Variations are set out in the following sequence:
- Theme, Moderato
- Variation I, Un poco più mosso
- Variation II, Allegro non troppo
- Variation III, Andantino tranquillo
- Variation IV, Vivace
- Variation V, Andante
- Variation VI, Allegro con spirito
- Variation VII, Andante con moto
- Coda: Moderato.