Hyperion Records

Variations in E flat major, Op 44
composer
circa 1792 (sketches); first published in 1804

Recordings
'Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio' (CDS44471/4)
Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio
MP3 £20.00FLAC £20.00ALAC £20.00Buy by post £22.00 CDS44471/4  4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio, Vol. 4' (CDA67466)
Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio, Vol. 4
Details
Track 5 on CDA67466 [12'27]
Track 5 on CDS44471/4 CD4 [12'27] 4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)

Variations in E flat major, Op 44
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In this work, Beethoven responded to the contemporary fashion for sets of variations on popular themes from operas. Carl von Dittersdorf’s Singspiel Das rote Käppchen (‘The little red cap’) was first produced in Vienna in 1788 and reached Bonn in 1792, during Beethoven’s last months there. One of the opera’s hit numbers was the naive ditty ‘Ja, ich muss von ihr scheiden’ (‘Yes, I must part from her’), which Beethoven duly took as the starting point for the Variations in E flat major, Op 44 for piano trio. The work was probably finished by the time the composer left Bonn (a brief sketch dated 1792 survives), though it did not appear in print until 1804 – hence the misleadingly high opus number.

Dittersdorf’s comically rudimentary tune is a vision of dry bones, as bare as the famous ‘Eroica’ theme which it faintly resembles. On it Beethoven builds fourteen variations, decorative in the eighteenth-century tradition (the theme is always easily recognizable), but entertainingly contrasted in spirit and texture. The lusty, syncopated tenth variation, for instance, is followed by an almost exaggeratedly demure dialogue for the strings, while the delicately tripping twelfth is disrupted by an uncouth fortissimo outburst – Beethoven gleefully sticking out his tongue at rococo decorum. There are two slow variations in E flat minor (No 7 and No 13), a jolly, ‘hunting-style’ 6/8 final variation and a coda that recalls No 13, now in C minor, before a brief Presto send-off.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2004

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDS44471/4 disc 4 track 5
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-04-46605
Duration
12'27
Recording date
9 September 2003
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio, Vol. 4 (CDA67466)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: November 2004
  2. Beethoven: The Complete Music for Piano Trio (CDS44471/4)
    Disc 4 Track 5
    Release date: October 2011
    4CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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