I have questions for our Russian friends about Glinka’s Variations on a theme of Mozart. The online collections I have searched, which include a Russian site, do not include the standard set of Variations. They only have a score for piano with three variations, omitting the one with harmonics and the following nocturne-style variation. I know an online collection is not complete, and maybe the library has his complete works. It would appear that a harpist transcribed the piece and added the two variations, which are in a somewhat later style, and simplified the theme and
The Mozart variations were an early work, one which was destroyed in a house fire many years after they were first written. They were reconstructed from the formidable musical memory of Glinka’s sister, Lyudmilla Shestakova. Nobody really knows if she tinkered with them at all, but both versions (the shorter one preferred by pianists and the longer one played by pedal harpists) were both in print in the composer’s lifetime.
I’ve never been able to find out for sure about which came first.
Incidentally, Glinka died in 1857, not 1828.
It’s also very interesting to me that most pianists interpret the entire piece in a totally different way from the usual harp interpretation. For those who are interested, this is Victor Ryabchikov, from his encyclopedic recording of Glinka’s piano works, on youtube:
Supporting evidence for the 2nd version being published in 1856:
The 1854 date is still from one unsupported source.
Hello freinds, let me tell you that in Russia and in general harpists play the first version of the variations by Glinka, if you search for the score in Russia you will find tow pieces in one publication first the Variations and the second piece is the Nocturne , the variations we have in 2 versions and the 2nd version is more difficult than the first and if you have a chance to get the CD of the great Tatiana Tower or Irina Donskaia they play the 2nd version, but in the tow versions the variations 3 and 4 are the same, and i heard a record of this variations played by Catherine Michel, its different from what they play in Russia,did you heard of the Glinka Siptet (Anna Bolein) for 7 instruments only in Russia play it, the harp part written very beautifully.
Hi, Mr. S. The Russian edition you mention (with the second version as a cue line and also including the Nocturne) was also the standard version in the west for many years–it was available from Salvi as one of their publications. I don’t know if it still is or not.
The septet is hard to find, it may only be in the complete works of Glinka here, and hard to get that kind of ensemble together. Please designate more clearly which version one is discussing. The copy that I most recently found has the dates 1822-1827 on it.
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