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.

Structure[edit]

  1. Theme: Andante sostenuto
  2. Variation 1
  3. Variation 2: Un poco più animato
  4. Variation 3: Più animato
  5. Variation 4
  6. Variation 5: Agitato
  7. Variation 6: A tempo
  8. Variation 7: Con fuoco
  9. Variation 8: Allegro vivace
  10. Variation 9
  11. Variation 10: Moderato
  12. Variation 11: Cantabile
  13. Variation 12: Tempo del Tema
  14. Variation 13: Sempre assai leggiero
  15. Variation 14: Adagio
  16. Variation 15: Poco a poco più agitato
  17. Variation 16: Allegro vivace
  18. Variation 17
  19. Coda: Presto

References[edit]

External links[edit]