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VARIATION FORMS: A SURVEY THROUGH FOUR CENTURIES OF VIOLIN REPERTOIRE
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Variation, or the re-working of existing musical material, has consistently attracted the attention of composers and performers throughout the history of Western music. In three recorded recitals at the University of Maryland School of Music, this dissertation project explores a diverse range of expressive possibilities for violin in seven types of variation form in Austro-German works for violin from the 17th through the 20th centuries. The first program, consisting of Baroque Period works, performed on period instrument, includes the divisions on “John come kiss me now” from The Division Violin by Thomas Baltzar (1631 – 1663), constant bass variations in Sonate Unarum Fidium by Johann Heinrich von Schmelzer (1623 – 1680), arbitrary variation in Sonata for Violin and Continuo in E Major, Op. 1, No. 12 “Roger” by George Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1759), and French Double style, melodic-outline variation in Partita for Unaccompanied Violin in B Minor by Johan Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750). Theme and Variations, a popular Classical Period format, is represented by the Sonata for Piano and Violin in G Major K. 379 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) and Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Major, Op. 47 No. 9 the “Kreutzer” by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827). Fantasy for Piano and Violin in C Major D. 934 by Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828) represents the 19th century fantasia variation. In these pieces, the piano and violin parts are densely interwoven, having equal importance. Many 20th century composers incorporated diverse types of variations in their works and are represented in the third recital program comprising: serial variation in the Phantasy for Violin and Piano Op.47 of Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951); a strict form of melodic-outline variation in Sonate für Violine allein, Op. 31, No. 2 of Paul Hindemith (1895 – 1963); ostinato variation in Johan Halvorsen’s (1864 – 1935) Passacaglia for Violin and Viola, after G. F. Handel’s Passacaglia from the Harpsichord Suite No. 7 in G Minor. Pianist Audrey Andrist, harpsichordist Sooyoung Jung, and violist Dong-Wook Kim assisted in these performances.