6 вариаций для фортепиано или с сопровождением флейты или скрипки на темы 5 шотландских и одной австрийской народных песен, Opus 105

Время создания: около 1818 г.

1. Scottish Air: The Cottage Maid (Theme: Andantino quasi allegretto. Var.1-3)
2. Scottish Air: Von edlem Geschlecht war Shinkin (Theme: Allegretto scherzoso. Var.1-3)
3. Austrian Air: A Schusserl und a Reindl (Theme: Andantino. Var.1-5)
4. Scottish Air: The Last Rose of Summer (Theme: Andante espressivo assai. Var.1-3)
5. Scottish Air: Chiling O'Guiry (Theme: Allegretto spiritoso. Var. 1-3)
6. Scottish Air: Paddy Whack ('English Bulls'; Theme: Allegretto piu tosto vivace. Var. 1-4)


In about 1806, Beethoven became friendly with Edinburgh-based publisher George Thomson, with whom he eventually developed a mainly financial relationship. The composer arranged many folk songs for him, including those of Irish, Welsh, Scottish and British origin. In fact, it may be surprising for some to learn that Beethoven had produced at least one hundred thirty-two such folk song arrangements for Thomson. While he composed many great symphonies, concertos, quartets and choral works, he also produced this sizable body of folk-derived music from the British Isles, not so much because he was attracted to their melodic character (which he was), but because, like most artists, he often felt certain financial pressures—and Thomson paid handsome fees.

In 1818, he engaged Beethoven to write a number of sets of variations on folk themes. The composer produced this collection of six for piano and flute or violin and also the Op. 107 effort, Ten National Airs with Variations (for the same instrumentation as Op. 105). Both sets are finely crafted, but neither has attained a substantial measure of popularity.

The Op. 105 set here opens with variations on the Irish air known as "The Cottage Maid." This Andantino quasi allegretto piece, in G, features three attractive variations. The next two use airs of Scottish (in C minor) and Austrian ("A Schussel und a Reindel is all mein Kuchelq'schirr," in C) origin, respectively. No. 2 (Allegretto scherzoso) has one of the more complex themes in the set and features three variations, while the third (Andantino) is, like the First, rather simple thematically, but with six variations, the most in the collection.

The E flat major Fourth uses the Irish air "The Last Rose." Marked Andante expressivo, it features three attractive variations. The last two pieces are both variations on unnamed Irish airs and carry similar tempo markings. The Fifth (Allegretto spiritoso, in E flat) offers three variations based on a dance-like melody, and the Sixth (Allegretto piu tosto vivace, in D) presents four variations.

It is probably the Third that is the strongest of the half-dozen sets here. One cannot help but surmise that Beethoven felt a greater kinship with the source theme's Austrian origins than with those of the other five. The Op. 105 National Airs collection was first published in both London and Vienna in 1819.

(All Music Guide)