• ERI NAKAGAWA College of Music, Mahidol University
Keywords: Johannes Brahms, Variations, Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, Variation


          Johannes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 9 was influenced by the works of Robert and Clara Schumann, whom Brahms first met on September 30, 1853. His acquaintance with them coincided with a most difficult period for the Schumann family. Schumann’s health deteriorated due to his mental illness and he attempted suicide on February 27, 1854. Back in May and June 1853, Clara Schumann composed her Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20 for her husband’s forty-third birthday. Brahms was inspired by Clara’s set of variations and wrote his own in May and August 1854. Both Clara’s Op. 20 and Brahms’s Op. 9 are based on the same theme: Schumann’s Bunte Blätter (Colored Leaves), Op. 99 No. 4. A set of 16 variations, Brahms’s Op. 9 was dedicated to Clara Schumann and also written to pay homage to both Clara and Robert Schumann in many respects such as the inclusion of thematic allusions to their earlier pieces and the use of compositional techniques frequently employed by them.


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