Variations in E flat major on 'Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen' from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, WoO46
The set of variations on the duet ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ from Die Zauberflöte
dates from 1801. Here the music is already laid out in such a way that the two instruments are in essence equal partners. It is especially delightful to follow the dialogue of the duet, with the piano in the role of Pamina and the cello answering it as Papageno. In the ensuing variations Beethoven once more demonstrates his gift for structural clarity, producing extremely attractive exchanges which combine the instruments in both light-hearted play and dramatic rivalry. A strong contrast is provided by the mysterious minor-key variation, which presents the cello in its low register but conserves transparency of texture thanks to the sensitive piano-writing. In the coda to the final variation Beethoven springs the surprise of letting the opening theme blossom anew before the brilliant conclusion on two imperious chords. Here is yet more evidence of the mastery Beethoven deployed in his outstanding contribution to the cello repertoire.
from notes by Daniel Müller-Schott © 2010
English: Charles Johnston