The Deuxième thème original avec introduction et variations
Op 81 begins with a stormy Introduzione in G minor (Allegro con fuoco), before Herz presents his theme, a Donizetti-like cavatina in G major. The brilliant first variation in 2/4 features an ‘umpah-umpah’ left hand more familiar from early ragtime compositions (in one bar Herz offers an ossia with higher notes for pianos with the luxury of seven octaves). Still in the tonic, Variation 2 is in 6/8 and marked Lo stesso tempo, grazioso tranquillo. Variation 3 retains the triplets but these are now vivo e leggiero and in 2/4. The key shifts to A flat major for the lovely Chopinesque fourth variation, modulating back to the home key for a concluding alla polacca and a con brio finale. The work is dedicated to Madame Henry Shellon.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008