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Title:To the "new manner" born: A study of Beethoven's early variations
Author(s):Whiting, Steven Moore
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ringer, Alexander L.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:In 1802 Beethoven announced to his publisher that he had adopted a "completely new manner" in his two latest sets of piano variations, in token of which he was numbering them among his "greater" musical opera. Given the aesthetic disrepute into which variations had fallen during the latter eighteenth century, Beethoven's declaration is striking, all the more so because he had taken a novel approach to this fashionable genre nearly from the start.
The present study is addressed to the twenty-nine variation sets and movements Beethoven composed by 1800, from the Dressler Variations of 1782 to the Sussmayr Variations of 1799. It argues that he subjected the genre to formal principles rooted in development before leaving Bonn (e.g., WoO 65, WoO 67), that he invested some variations (e.g., WoO 28, WoO 72, WoO 73) with specific dramatic contents by implicit reference to the operas from which the themes were drawn, and that he even shaped certain variation works, mutatis mutandis, along lines analogous to sonata form. The dual thematic configuration that marks Op. 35 was present as early as 1790 (WoO 65). The relation in Op. 34 of successive variations by mediant keys and the closing complex of Adagio and fugue in Op. 35 were clearly prefigured in 1799 (WoO 76). Beethoven was, so to speak, to the "new manner" born.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Whiting, Steven Moore
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136764
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136764

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