Ax’s Variations

Emanuel Ax: Variations

Considered to be one of the best concert pianists of our time, Grammy Award winning American pianist Emanuel Ax (b.1949) released this new CD, featuring three works he has never recorded before. This release includes significant sets of variations by Beethoven, Haydn, and Robert Schumann.


  • Eroica Variations, Op. 35


  • Andante & Variations in F minor, Hob.XVII:6 (Sonata – un piccolo divertimento)


  • Études symphoniques, Op. 13

Performed by Emanuel Ax, piano

I actually don’t know why these works are so rarely played. It seems to me that this is an opportunity for a composer to explore his originality:

Take a simple theme, on occasion taken from a well-know folk tune, and then go to work on showing the listener what the composer can do in creating embellished, altered, or modified aspects of these sounds.

Slow tempo, fast tempo, major key, minor key, and more…

On occasion the composer’s intention is to always preserve some aspect of the original theme. But there are many exceptions. Johannes Brahms was a master at this form of music, and several of his orchestral compositions are examples. (Variations on a theme by Handel, and more)

Here is Emanuel Ax performing Chopin:



And next, here’s Mr. Ax with his two friends celebrating the 200th birthday of Mendelssohn and Schumann:

Violin: Itzhak Perlman
Cello: Yo Yo Ma
Piano: Emanuel Ax


Tags: Emanuel Ax, Variations, Haydn, Beethoven, Schumann

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