8 вариаций для фортепиано в 4 руки на тему графа Вальдштейна, WoO 67

Время создания: 1791-1792 гг. (Бонн)

Thema. Andante con moto - Var. I-VII - Var. VIII. Un poco Adagio - Capriccio - Allegro - Adagio - Allegro - Adagio - Allegretto - Allegro - Presto

Jörg Demus и Norman Shetler, фортепиано

Beethoven wrote many variation sets for piano, but this one is unusual, because it is one of the few for piano duet. Moreover, it is the first of his piano compositions for four hands. The "Count Waldstein" referred to in the title is the same Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, after whom the Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major is nicknamed. There seems to be some disagreement in reference books regarding the time of composition of the "Waldstein Variations," some dating the set as far back as 1787. But it appears they were composed in 1792, at about the time Beethoven had settled in Vienna.

The "Waldstein" theme is rather simple and somewhat bland in its aristocratic demeanor. Beethoven's first two variations impart some color and sparkle, and the last two divulge a fine sense for contrast and atmosphere. All eight are never less than interesting, but on the whole the set does not rise to the level of the composer's better works in the genre.

This composition was first published in Bonn in 1794. A typical performance of it lasts about nine or ten minutes.

(Robert Cummings, Rovi, answers.com)