The Brass Variations
Be sure to reference how this variation compares to the original theme and the other variations on the Thematic Fragments page,
Yes, it’s a march, but my tongue is thrust firmly into my cheek. One can easily envision a toy soldier marching around a playroom to this bouncy variation, made all the more playful through the use of straight mutes by all instruments. The mutes are shed at the very end as it transitions into the 5th and final variation, which serves to close the entire composition — or will, when we get that far! This excerpt, of course, ends with the end of this variation.
This actually started out as my first thematic idea, but it was just too clever and complicated to serve well in that role. So it got demoted. But you can argue that it all started here, and the eventual opening theme is an upside-down, slower, simpler version of this variation (rather than the other way ’round). It didn’t start out as a march but became one when I had the flexibility to play — to treat it as a variation rather than the main theme.
Confused? You won’t be, when you can hear the entire composition!