• Franz Waxman
  • Auld Lang Syne Variations (for piano quintet) (1947)

  • Fidelio Music Publishing (World)
  • pf/vn.va.vc.db
  • 14 min

Programme Note

1. Eine Kleine Nichtmusik
2. Moonlight Concerto
3. Chaconne a Son Gout
4. Hommage to Shostakofiev

For the traditional Jascha Heifetz New Years Eve party of December 31, 1948 my father composed Auld Lang Syne Variations. The music is based on Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik as it might have been composed by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Shostakovich/Prokofiev.

The variations are four individual movements, each one presenting the theme in the style of a different composer — and each featuring the violin prominently. The first variation, “Eine Kleine Nichtmusik,” highlights Mozart’s trademark active bass line in the piano, and includes references to Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola, among other works. The second movement, called “Moonlight Concerto,” opens with a quote from Beethoven’s most famous piano sonata and the second movement (Larghetto) of his violin concerto set against a dramatic rendition of the “Auld Lang Syne” theme, and interpolates melodies from Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The third movement, “Chaconne a son Gout” — a play on the French expression chacun à son goût, or “to each his own taste” — has the solo violin performing the theme in the style of Chaconne Partita No. 2 by J.S. Bach. The last movement, titled “Homage to Shostakofiev,” parodies two of Waxman’s contemporaries, the “Auld Lang Syne” theme here transforms itself into a spinning-out melody from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1, F Major, second movement — Allegro (Scherzo), and Piano Trio, and then segues into a snippet of Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto before fading out in a bleak Russian style.

— John Waxman


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