The Thème Varié
, Op 97 (1894) was written as a species of étude—it was composed as a test piece for a competition. It was dedicated to Ambroise Thomas, director of the Conservatoire and, incidently, brother-in-law of Caroline de Serres. After a brilliant introduction, a chorale theme is explored in five fairly free variations; the piece ends much by hammering home C major chords!
from notes by Piers Lane © 1998