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Ludwig van Beethoven: Variations
Variation form was a central feature of Beethoven’s piano writing in general, from his early years until the end of his life.
The many witty transformations of popular tunes give us an insight in how it might have sounded when the young Beethoven sat down to improvise at the keyboard, while works like the Eroica- and Diabelli Variations belong to the composer’s mature masterworks.
The Eroica set shares its theme, first featured in his early ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, with the last movement of the great third symphony. The monumental Diabelli Variations are based on the little waltz (originally dismissed by Beethoven as a “cobbler’s patch” that Anton Diabelli sent around to fifty different composers asking them to contribute with one variation each.