Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Nelson, Robert U. "Stravinsky's Concept of Variations." In Stravinsky: A New Appraisal of His Work, ed. Paul Henry Lang, 61-73. New York: W. W. Norton, 1963.

Despite Stravinsky's claim that his goal was to remain faithful to "the theme as a melody," the degree of relationship to the original melody varies widely in his variation works. While the melody itself is generally recognizable, his treatment of other musical elements is nearly unlimited in its freedom and flexibility. Though his variation works are dominated by free variation techniques, there are examples of clear influence from variation practices dating from the sixteenth century through the nineteenth century. Stravinsky's use of variations frequently creates sharp contrasts of mood within a piece, while maintaining cohesion through the use of repetitive figuration and ostinato figures. Considered as a group, Stravinsky's variations are clearly linked to the traditions of the past while making use of progressive compositional techniques.

Works: Stravinsky: Pulcinella (61), Octet for Wind Instruments (61-63, 64, 69, 70, 71), Concerto for Two Pianos (61-63, 68-69, 70, 71), Jeu de cartes (61-63, 65-66, 71-72), Danses concertantes (61-62, 63, 65, 66-67, 70-71, 72), Sonata for Two Pianos (61-62, 63, 65, 68, 70-71, 72), Ebony Concerto (61-62, 63, 65, 66-67, 72), Septet (61-62, 63, 64-65, 70, 72).

Sources: Haydn: Variations in F minor, Hob. XVII:6 (63); Byrd: John come kisse me now (64); Scheidt: Christe, qui lux es et dies (64); J. S. Bach: Von Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her, BWV 606 (65), Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV 766 (67); Ebner: Variations on an Air (69); Beethoven: Thirty-Three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli,Op. 120 (71); Schumann: 12 Etudes Symphoniques, Op. 13 (71).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Sherri Winks

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