Beethoven – 32 Variations In C Minor On An Original Theme, WoO 80‏

by richibi

of all musical forms variations lend themselves
best to intellectual speculation, which is to say, 
by way of concepts, words, objects of rational,
cohesive, not nebulous, thought
 
it is immediately evident that a set of variations
considers the many facets of a given subject, in
music represented by a theme to be analyzed,
dissected, explored and, in the best of cases,
rendered transcendental  
 
this is of course also the case in any science 
 
it is more difficult to so investigate a waltz, a
sarabande, a rhapsody, which speak a much
less literal language usually, unless of course
the verbal construct itself has been applied to
the composition, The Carnival of the Animals
or Pictures at an Exhibition“, for instance, but
that’s putting the cart before the theoretical
horse, unfair and unethical 
 
variations demand inherently cerebral 
participation, a considered evaluation, a
nearly literal result, music finds its one-way
ticket thereby to veritable language
 
 
around the same time as he wrote the
“Waldstein” Sonata, 1806, Beethoven wrote
Theme, WoO 80, my very favourite of his
sets of variations, courtesy here of the
inimitable Glenn Gould
 
note, in passing, the similarities between
the two contemporary works
 
 
of the C minor Variations, however utterly
improbably, played by one Ivan Moravec,
an earlier great, accompanied by immensely
helpful annotated commentary the sum of
which is hugely more telling than its mere 
point form parts, sharpening in the process,
inconspicuously but highly effectively, one’s
aesthetic pencil, pulse
 
what could be more fun than that
 
 
variations, incidentally, are a most democratic
form, where every iteration is the equal of the
other, given always, however, that fixed and
intractable initial model
 
an interesting interpolation, incidentally, that, 
philosophically, of course, speaking, asking,
as it does, does democracy require, rest on, 
a founding contextual blueprint, in light
especially of the infinite number of those
blueprints possible
 
is our democracy merely an arbitrary, and
only contingent, shade, therefore, of that 
ideational abstract
 
you decide
 
 
Richard
 
psst: WoO is an acronym for Werke ohne
          Opuszahl, or, in English, works
          without opus number, Beethoven
          seems to have been completely
          unconcerned with naming his
          compositions, that he’d written the
          music had been apparently already
          quite enough   
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
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