Thème et variations (Messiaen)

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Thème et variations ( Theme and Variations ) is a 1932 composition by Olivier Messiaen for violin and piano. It is considered as equally characteristic and immediately accessible as his Quatuor pour la fin du temps. The work was originally written as a wedding present for the composer's first wife, the violinist Claire Delbos, whom he married on 22 June 1932. The young couple gave the first performance on 22 November the same year. [1]

In music, variation is a formal technique where material is repeated in an altered form. The changes may involve melody, rhythm, harmony, counterpoint, timbre, orchestration or any combination of these.

Olivier Messiaen French composer, organist and ornithologist

Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex; harmonically and melodically he employs a system he called modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from the systems of material generated by his early compositions and improvisations. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, vocal music, as well as for solo organ and piano, and also experimented with the use of novel electronic instruments developed in Europe during his lifetime.

Violin bowed string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths

The violin, sometimes known as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments exist, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow.

The work is divided into six brief sections:

A typical performance lasts around ten minutes.

Sources

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References

  1. Dingle, p. 49.