Une Larme Theme & Variations for Cello & Piano
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) needs no introduction, he is one of the best known composers of opera of all time. Although only known for his operas, Rossini did write a considerable amount of other music, mostly vocal and sacred, however, he did compose a number of instrumental works and in his youth some string sonatas for quartet or string orchestra. Une Larme was part of a series of works which he dubbed Sins of My Old Age (Péchés de Vieillesse) and appears to have been composed in the 1860s. The title Une Larme (a tear) conveys the sadness of the theme and of some of the variations. However, there are also several which are more upbeat, including the brilliant final variation. The work clearly shows Rossini's understanding of the cello's vocal nature (one only has to look to the opening of the William Tell Overture to confirm this). In the slow sections, there are dramatic arias full of pathos. Our soundbite presents the theme and three variations and is somewhat less than half the work.
Though not as long as a sonata, the work is substantial (over 10 minutes) and makes a brilliant showcase for both the cellist and the pianist. It is another first rate virtuoso recital piece or competition work par excellence, sure to please.