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
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  

 

Advertisements