Variations Symphoniques for Violoncello & Piano, Op.23
BoŽllmann's Variations Symphoniques was for many years his most frequently performed work. Conceived as a concerto in one movement, it was often performed by cellists with a full orchestra complement. However, after the Second World War, this fine piece has inexplicably disappeared from the concert stage and can truly be called a neglected masterpiece. Like virtually every concerto, the publishers quickly arranged it for cello and piano and it makes a wonderful recital piece. Basically in the key of d minor, the theme is presented at the outset dramatically intoned by the cello. This theme has a double character which lend themselves admirably to variation treatment. Our soundbite presents the beginning and conclusion of the work.
Lťon BoŽllmann (1862-1897) was born in the Alsatian town of Ensisheim. He moved to Paris after the Franco-Prussian War after which Alsace became part of Germany. In Paris, he studied organ, piano and composition at the Ecole de Musique Classique, winning many honors. After graduating he worked as a teacher at the Ecole. His compositions won him considerable recognition and he almost certainly would have made a greater name for himself had he not died at the young age of 35.
This is a work which belongs in every performing cellist's repertoire.