Salzedo variations

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    I really enjoyed hearing part



    I can ask my teacher (who is the one playing in that video) but in my personal opinion, this piece is VERY VERY long, especially because so many people play almost all of it on the slower side, and so it makes for a shorter, bearable piece. Also, the last 3 variations aren’t the most exciting and (combined with the variation before those three) they make up a large part of the piece


    Another question on this piece: Does anyone know if the usual English title is one Salzedo also used for it, or did he only call it by its French title? “Ancient Style” sounds like it’s based on some ancient Greek or Roman theme. I always thought a better translation would be “Old Style” or “Old Fashion.”

    Just curious, since I have no power to rename the thing.


    I have seen it both ways, but I think maybe the best way is to use the original French title (it seems people forget Salzedo was French), and perhaps include an appropriate translation in parentheses. I have always done that on my recital programs, because I like to use the original title of a piece whenever possible, but I also want my audience to know what that title means. And as for the ‘style ancien’, in French that means ‘old style’, not ‘ancient style’ as so many English translations put it. The word ‘ancien’ in French is the common word for old, so it would make more sense to translate it as ‘Variations on a theme in the old(olden?) style’. That’s just my two cents worth, since I am so fond of the French language and I am picky about translation. And I agree that ‘ancient’ makes it sound well, ancient, and it’s in the style more of a classical theme and variations than an ancient Greek song or something.


    Lucile Lawrence always insisted on full-length performances of the Variations for as long as I knew her. The short version would only be done as required by competitions. She recorded the full-length version. Contrary to Sam’s opinion, I find the Barcarolle, Prelude, Fugue and Cadenza to be not only the most difficult, but the most exciting part of the piece by far. Miss Lawrence said to me that Salzedo regretted ever publishing the shortened ending because too many people opted for it. It was customary to do so in French publications for easiness. While the character of the variations shifts from technical to character with the Barcarolle and Prelude, no proper French Theme and Variations can be written without a fugue, classically speaking. And the meaning of ancien is old, but in the sense of classic, olden, traditional, not just elderly. Tchaikovsky used the word roccoco in his variations for cello.

    Certainly, all the variations are printed in both editions. I use the Leduc edition. I dislike the altered harmonic notation. The revised edition has simplified tempi that, to me, do not work. The simplified fingerings aren’t really necessary and detract musically.

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