Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Valentine's Day Gift For The Music Lover - A Curio!

How about a rather unique piece of music for the music lover?
Traditionally, composers writing a Theme and Variations will, of course, begin with the theme and then create variations upon that theme, ending much of the time with the most highly developed variation. Great examples would be the Goldberg Variations by Bach; or, the Thirty-Two Variations by Beethoven.
Perhaps the most singular composition in that form was written by a rather obscure composer, Vincent D'Indy. He titled it the "Ishtar" Variations.
He reverses the entire composition by beginning it with the most florid variation, and makes sure that the ensuing variations are less and less complex. He finally arrives at the theme upon which these variations are based, and the piece ends as soon as the theme is completed. One might say that this curio should be called "Variations in Search of a Theme"; actually, D'Indy himself thought of this as the title.
The music is based upon the Dance of the Seven Veils, each veil being discarded until the fair one is clad in her birthday garb.
So the music is fully clothed at first, and eventually arrives at the skeletal base.
Pretty clever, what?

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