• Brian Elias
  • Variations (1987)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)
  • Piano
  • 20 min

Programme Note

These Variations are based on the concept of Beethoven's 32 variations in C Minor. In Beethoven's work, all the variations are eight bars long, without any changes of tempi or time signature. Each variation is complete in itself, but the variations are carfeully grouped and juxtaposed to have a cumulative effect. His individual varations are always very clearly connected with the original theme, both melodically and harmonically. Rather than occupying himself solely with decoration of the original melody, Beethoven's concern was with piano figuration and technique.

In following the prinicples Beethoven created in this work, I have attempted to concern myself with the same preoccupations; by using clearly audible motifs that would permit me to concentrate on writing for the instrument, and by using short, sharply defined phrases (always of eight bars) to build up a larger structure.

The work is in three main sections, and follows the outline given below:

Theme and Variations 1-6 : Introduction
Variations 7-20 : First 'Movement'
Variations 21-34 : Second 'Movement'
Variations 35-49 : Third 'Movement'

The quiet 49th variation states in simple chords the harmonies of the theme and goes straight into the Coda. As in the Beethoven, the last variation and coda finally abandons the eight bar phrasing that has applied throughout. The work should be perfrormed without any breaks.

Brian Elias