Friday, September 4, 2015
Schumann wrote the Abegg Variations shortly after his twentieth birthday based on the name of the girl, Meta Abegg, that he met at a ball. Schumann was paying tribute to the French center of piano virtuosity.
The Abegg Variations first appeared in November 1831. Schumann was writing in the Romantic period where it was all about unrequited love and getting all dramatic. It was a period in history where people lost the understanding of love, but people knew what a girl or a boy was.
The entire piece is based out of a five-note motif from the letters ABEGG, unlike the tradition of the time to base the theme on a melody off of another famous composer's work. Schumann develops this motif in the variations from slow and expressive to fast and flashy.
Here is Linnéa Benson playing the "Abegg variations" by Robert Schumann.