Variations sérieuses

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Beethoven Monument in Bonn

Variations sérieuses, Op. 54, is a composition for solo piano by Felix Mendelssohn consisting of a theme in D minor and 17 variations. It was completed on 4 June 1841. A performance lasts about eleven minutes.[1]

The work was written as part of a campaign to raise funds for the erection of a large bronze statue of Ludwig van Beethoven in his home town of Bonn.[2] The publisher Pietro Mecchetti asked Mendelssohn to contribute to a 'Beethoven Album', published in January 1842, which also included pieces by Liszt, Chopin, Moscheles and others, of which the proceeds would go to the Monument.[3] (Schumann's Fantasie in C was the final result of a work originally intended for the same purpose).

Mendelssohn is known to have written three sets of piano variations, but only this one was published during his lifetime.[4]

Many of the variations require a virtuoso technique. Mendelssohn's good friend Ignaz Moscheles stated "I play the Variations sérieuses again and again, each time I enjoy the beauty again." Ferruccio Busoni also liked the work very much. Many pianists have recorded it, including Vladimir Horowitz, Sviatoslav Richter, Rena Kyriakou, Vladimir Sofronitsky and Murray Perahia.

Performed live by Mark Gasser

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  1. Theme – Variation 1: Andante sostenuto
  2. Un poco più animato
  3. Più animato
  4. Agitato
  5. A tempo
  6. Con fuoco
  7. Allegro vivace
  8. Moderato
  9. Cantabile
  10. Tempo di tema
  11. Sempre assai leggiero
  12. Adagio
  13. Poco a poco più agitato
  14. Allegro vivace


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