Вариации на тему песни Венцеля Мюллера (Wenzel Müller) "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu" для фортепьянного трио, Opus 121a

Время создания: 1816 (?) год.

1. Introduction: Adagio assai
2. Theme ('Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu'): Allegretto
3. Variation 1
4. Variation 2
5. Variation 3
6. Variation 4
7. Variation 5
8. Variation 6
9. Variation 7
10 .Variation 8
11. Variation 9
12. Variation 10
13. Allegretto

Вильгельм Кемпф (фортепиано),
Генрик Шеринг (скрипка),
Пьер Фурнье (виолончель).

Beethoven had written the Variations op. 121a for Piano, Violin and Violoncello as early as 1801/02. However fifteen years later ? as he himself wrote ? he found them good enough to be brought out again and offered to the Leipzig publisher Hartel for publication. On 19 July 1816 he wrote to Gottfried Christoph Hartel in Leipzig, "Variations with an introduction and coda for Piano, violin and violoncello upon a well-known theme by Muller. They are one of my earlier compositions but do not belong to the bad ones." The clean autograph score shown here is probably a second copy he made during negotiations with the publisher, as both the paper and the neatness of the handwriting enable us to place the date around 1816.

The model for the theme was a well-known popular melody from the Singspiel "Die Schwestern von Prag" ("The sisters from Prague") by Joachim Perinet and Wenzel Muller, which was first performed on 11 March 1794. The work is a turbulent comedy of mistaken identities, in which - as is so often the case ? the action centres around marriage and love. The text for Muller's Lied "Ich bin der Schneider Wetz und Wetz" (I am the tailor, whet and whet) is suggestive and the Lied has a catchy melody ? two components which added to its popularity (the Singspiel was performed 130 times in the Marienelli Theatre in Vienna's Leopoldstadt during Beethoven's lifetime). Muller had already set the three verse couplet up as a kind of variation. Although the verses of the Lied were always the same for the singer, the orchestral accompaniment changed from verse to verse. The character of the melody and the style of the accompaniment really call for a set of variations, which Beethoven wrote for piano, violin and cello. They were written "with such spirit and bold imagination, as only a master can write variations" as a critic wrote of op. 121a in Vienna's Allgemeiner Musikalischer Anzeiger in 1830.


Beethoven's Piano Trio, Op. 121a, is a set of variations on Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, from Die Schwestern von Prag, a singspiel by Wenzel Muller (1767-1835) that premiered in Vienna in 1794. The variations were probably composed in 1803, and may have been offered for publication at that time. Evidently, they were offered to Breitkopf & Hartel in 1816 and rejected, nonetheless eventually printed in May 1824 by both Steiner in Vienna and Chappell in London, incorporating Beethoven's revisions of 1816-1817. Steiner's print carries simply "Op. 121." A year later Schott published the Opferlied with the same opus number, requiring later publishers to append an "a" to the Trio and "b" to the Opferlied. It seems difficult to believe that Beethoven's Kakadu variations were composed in the same year as the "Waldstein" Sonata, Op. 53. The variations show none of the harmonic exploration or motivic manipulation characteristic of the sonata, and are quite conventional. This is most certainly because he wrote the piece hoping it would sell widely, which is why he chose a popular theme. He did, however, give the work an opus number.

The Adagio introduction begins in G minor with a unison descending figure. A new motive appears when the repeated chords begin in the piano, after which Beethoven touches on B flat major, but does not commit, preferring to head back to G minor. The opening and secondary motives mingle as the dynamic level grows, stopping on the dominant of G minor/major. Muller's theme perfectly fits traditional Classical-era proportions. In two parts, the first tune consists of two four-measure segments that each carry an arching melody, while the second part contains two eight-measure sections. Variation No. 1 is entirely the property of the piano. Beethoven closely follows the original patterns of repetition and harmony, except for the addition of a dominant chord at the very end of the fourth measure, a subtle change that appears in every variation but the third, ninth, and tenth. Marked leggiermente (light, nimble), the second variation proceeds without cello, the rapid violin part moving in triplets over the duple rhythm of the piano part. The cello takes center stage in the third variation, maintaining the basic shape of the theme but none of its details, while triplets return in the piano part of variation No. 4, in which the theme is easily recognizable. In contrast to the previous variation, the violin and cello dominate the fifth variation, the piano occasionally decorating and doubling. The melodic material here actually sounds more like that of the introduction than the theme. Flashy octaves in the piano obscure the theme in variation No. 6, while the more delicate seventh variation gives the pianist a rest. Syncopated lines characterize the eighth variation, as segments of the theme are traded between the strings and piano. Finally, Beethoven changes key, somewhat, setting the ninth variation in G minor, the key of the introduction, and emphasizing the relationship between the two sections by marking the variation "Adagio." The slow tempo allows this to be the most decorated variation of the set. The major mode returns in variation No. 10, in 6/8 meter. The coda consists of two more variations, the first of which revisits G minor; the second returns to both G major and 2/4 meter.

(All Music Guide)