COMPOSITIONS compositions

Variations in A major (Souvenir de Paganini) [Op. posth.] incypit

Genre: Varitations

Key: A major

Opus/WN: [op. posth.]

Creation date: 1829

Acc. to Paderewski: XIII (pt.Souvenir de Paganini)

Acc. to Turło: 229

Instruments: piano


The Variations in A major (‘Variants’) are a curious, subtle, interesting work, not intended for publication, attesting Chopin’s experimentation with form. They date from the Warsaw period, and we learn about them from a colleague of Chopin from his studies with Elsner, Józef Nowakowski, who acquired the work and kept it with great piety before presenting it to Adam Münchheimer, thanks to whom, in 1881, these ‘variants’ were published – under the pretentious and very un-Chopin title Souvenir de Paganini. These are variations on an Italian tune made popular throughout Europe by Paganini. The great Italian violinist gave concerts in Warsaw in 1829, hence the assumption that these ‘variants’ date from that time. Their form is quite unusual. After an eight-bar theme, taken from Paganini’s Le carnaval de Venise, each of the ten variations, or more specifically variants, passes into the next without a break. The accompaniment to the tenfold modified melody, meanwhile, remains exactly the same throughout the whole work, consisting of two spread chords: tonic and dominant. The consequent monotony is due, therefore, to design rather than a lack of invention.

Author: Mieczysław Tomaszewski
[Cykl audycji "Fryderyka Chopina Dzieła Wszystkie"]
Polish Radio, program II


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Variations in A major (Souvenir de Paganini) [Op. posth.] [op. posth.]
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