Featured Work: Beethoven: Variations and Fugue for Piano in E♭ major, Op. 35 “Eroica Variations”

The Variations and Fugue for Piano in E♭ major, Op. 35 are a set of fifteen variations for solo piano composed by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1802. They are commonly referred to as the Eroica Variations because variations on the same theme were used as the finale of his Symphony No. 3 Eroica composed the following year.

 The theme used was a favorite of Beethoven’s. It was featured in the finale of the ballet music he composed for The Creatures of Prometheus (1801) and then as the seventh of his 12 Contredanses, WoO 14 (1800-02) before being the subject of the variations of this work and of the later symphony. It begins thus:



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1. Introduction: Col Basso del Tema: Allegretto Vivace: A due, A tre, A Quattro 01 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in


In a departure from the classical theme-and-variations form, Beethoven opens the work not with the main theme, but the bass line to the main theme. He then follows with three variations of this bass line before finally stating the main theme. This approach was carried over from the ballet music, where it represented the gradual creation of life forms by Prometheus. The variations in the Eroica Symphony follow this same pattern. In another departure from traditional variation form, after the fifteen variations of the main theme, Beethoven finishes the work with a finale consisting of a fugue followed by an Andante con moto. The work lasts about 25 minutes.



theme
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2. Tema02 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
3. Variation I03 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
4. Variation II04 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
5. Variation III05 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
6. Variation IV06 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
7. Variation V07 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
8. Variation VI08 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
9. Variation VII: Canone all’ ottava09 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
10. Variation VIII10 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
11. Variation IX11 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
12. Variation X12 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
13. Variation XI13 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
14. Variation XII14 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
15. Variation XIII15 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
16. Variation XIV: Minore16 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
17. Variation XV: Maggiore: Largo17 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
18. Coda18 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in
19. Finale. Alla Fuga. Allegro con brio – Andante con moto19 15 Piano Variations and Fugue in

 


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