Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kagan, Susan. Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven's Patron, Pupil, and Friend: His Life and Music. Stuyvesant: Pendragon Press, 1988.

A detailed study of Archduke Rudolph's Forty Variations on a Theme by Beethoven (1818-19) is provided on pp. 69-118. The variations represent the culmination of Rudolph's years of composition study with Beethoven, and they stand at the core of his oeuvre. In the spring of 1818 Beethoven wrote out a four-measure Liedthema, "O Hoffnung" (WoO 200), and sent it to Rudolph as an assignment in variations composition. Rudolph took to the assignment with great enthusiasm, producing a set of forty variations on the "O Hoffnung" theme. Beethoven kept a close eye on Rudolph throughout the writing process; his corrections and suggested revisions can be found on Rudolph's original manuscript. The first thirty-five variations are "strict" in that they bear a direct bar-by-bar structural correspondence with the original theme. But the last five of the set are "fantasia" variations, deviating greatly from the original in length and harmonic design. The final variation (no. 40) adopts the theme as the subject of a four-voice fugue that extends for ninety-six measures. The fugue especially reveals Rudolph's allegiance to the pianistic style of his teacher in many ways, including the lengthy passages in consecutive thirds and sixths, the long sustained trill under which new melodies emerge, and the unconventional pedaling in the final measures.

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Mark S. Spicer

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