MENDELSSOHN Felix, Variations sérieuses
Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses were completed on 4 June 1841 and had been written to encourage contributions for a statue of Beethoven to be erected in Bonn, and it was published along with other works by Liszt and Chopin (among others) in a fund-raising ‘Beethoven-Album’. The piece was much admired at the time by Ignaz Moscheles, Mendelssohn’s friend and fellow contributor to the album, who often included it in his recital programme. It comprises an original theme followed by 17 sharply contrasted variations, the first group gradually building momentum, a solemn chorale (Variation 14), and the brilliant virtuosity of the closing pages.
(C) Nigel Simeone