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Variations sur un thème hongrois, Op 72

'Hubay: Violin Concertos Nos 3 & 4' (CDA67367)
Hubay: Violin Concertos Nos 3 & 4
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Movement 01: Introduction: Molto moderato
Movement 02: Theme: Adagio
Movement 03: Variation 1: Un poco più vivo
Movement 04: Variation 2: Animato
Movement 05: Variation 3: Allegro
Movement 06: Variation 4: Moderato
Movement 07: Variation 5: Adagio non troppo
Movement 08: Variation 6: Poco animato
Movement 09: Variation 7: Moderato
Movement 10: Variation 8: Andante con moto
Movement 11: Variation 9: Allegro moderato
Movement 12: Variation 10: Allegro molto
Movement 13: Variation 11: L'istesso tempo
Movement 14: Cadenza
Movement 15: Theme: Grave

Variations sur un thème hongrois, Op 72
The set of eleven Variations on a Hungarian Theme in D minor Op 72 begins with the orchestra presenting part of the theme (four bars) as an introduction. The solo violin is the main protagonist in this work, and his entrance is already a sort of variation with the addition of two more bars, which breaks the metrical balance of the tune. The full theme is presented by the soloist after a slow cadenza-like interlude played on the G-string.

Each variation has a typical character: the first is made of two slurred bars alternating with fast staccato triplets, the second is a set of triplets in double stops, the third has pizzicato chords and fast, bowed low-pitched semi­quavers. The fourth variation is a duet between the flute and the violin’s harmonics. The mood relaxes in the fifth variation, which brings a slower contrapuntal melody. The sixth variation is in B flat minor with fast, rising figures, ending with a short cadenza. The seventh variation introduces fast arpeggios over a plucked accompaniment. In variation eight the tune is in the violas, while the solo plays a trilled figure and double stops. The ninth variation has the orchestral violins accompanied by chords from the soloist, a texture which is inverted in the next variation. The last variation recalls the beginning of the theme, before running triplets take us to the final cadenza—this brilliant piece of showmanship brings us back to the final recapitulation of the theme.

from notes by Amnon Shaham © 2003

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