In June 1809 Spohr worked on the Variations in B flat major on a theme from his opera Alruna
. This grand Romantic opera, whose subtitle was ‘The Owl-Queen’, had been accepted by Goethe for production in Weimar but during rehearsals Spohr came to the conclusion that it was a dramatic failure and managed to get it withdrawn. Nevertheless, he still thought highly of the music and drew upon it more than once in the future. The theme he chose for this set of variations is the opera’s seventh number, the duet ‘Euer Liebreiz, eure Schönheit’. The theme’s entry is preceded by a slow introduction, and then Hermstedt is put through his paces. Appropriately enough the piece received its premiere in Weimar on 15 January 1810.
from notes by Keith Warsop © 2005
Chairman, Spohr Society of Great Britain