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Beethoven: Variations on a Theme

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: It’s a favorite piece among cellists!

Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute, premiered in September of 1791 to great acclaim.

The original cast consisted of people with a wide range of musical skills, so Mozart composed the score in accordance to their abilities. One of those performers was Emanuel Schiknaeder, the librettist of the opera and the original Papageno.

The Magic Flute would be Mozart’s last big hit, for he died just three months after the premier. Future generations of composers like Ludwig van Beethoven worshiped Mozart and his work.

Beethoven loved The Magic Flute in particular and wrote a series of variations for cello and piano on Papageno’s aria “A girl or a wife” from the second act of the opera.

Music Heard On This Episode

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s The Magic Flute
Mischa Maisky, cello; Martha Argerich, piano — Beethoven: Cellosonaten, Op. 5; Variations (Polygram Records, 1992)
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album cover
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s The Magic Flute
Mischa Maisky, cello; Martha Argerich, piano — Beethoven: Cellosonaten, Op. 5; Variations (Polygram Records, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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