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.
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. 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. (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.
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.
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- Theme: Andante sostenuto
- Variation 1
- Variation 2: Un poco più animato
- Variation 3: Più animato
- Variation 4
- Variation 5: Agitato
- Variation 6: A tempo
- Variation 7: Con fuoco
- Variation 8: Allegro vivace
- Variation 9
- Variation 10: Moderato
- Variation 11: Cantabile
- Variation 12: Tempo del Tema
- Variation 13: Sempre assai leggiero
- Variation 14: Adagio
- Variation 15: Poco a poco più agitato
- Variation 16: Allegro vivace
- Variation 17
- Coda: Presto
- Variations sérieuses (17) in D minor, Op. 54
- New York Philharmonic
- Todd, R. Larry (2003). Mendelssohn, A Life in Music, p.414. Oxford. ISBN 978-0195179880
- Variations sérieuses, for piano in D minor, Op. 54; Composition Description
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