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E. Andrushchenko

On the theme by N. Paganini and “according to” S. Rachmaninoff: the notes on “Variations” by A. Lloyd-Webber

The article is devoted to one of the well-known compositions by A. Lloyd-Webber namely “Variations” for cello and rock group (1977). This work is characterized as remarkable example of dialogic interactions between popular and academic music in the 20th century. The researcher bases herself upon the author’s commentaries to be adduced in Lloyd-Webber’s memoires that were published not long ago (2018). She advanced a thesis concerning formation and realization of the appropriate artistic concept under the influence of the classical masterpiece – “Rhapsody on the Theme by N. Paganini” by S. Rachmaninoff. In particular the historical facts indicative of the wide popularity both “Rhapsody…” original variant and the late musical-theatrical “version” of this work (the various choreographic wordings of the ballet “Paganini” by S. Rachmaninoff and M. Fokin) in the Great Britain are involved. Further diverse parallels, come to light in the process of the named variation cycles comparative analysis, are examined. The most essential features of structurecompositional propinquity between “Rhapsody…” and “Variations”, and appropriate dramaturgy intentions (contrasting comparisons of the “infernal” and sublime lyrical spheres), genre-conceptual “duality” (appearance of the exact or varied reprises conformably to the separate variations to be conditioned by the musical-scenic requirements to the ballet performances) are fixed in the article. Much attention is given to the stylistic “call-over” of the named works. It is connected with two revealing peculiarities of “Rhapsody…” as the obvious or veiled influences of early jazz and variety music of the 1920–1930s, and “personalized” stylizations namely author’s “offerings” to other composers of the past and the present. This “play upon styles” appears in the capacity of “Variations” fundamental principle to be realized by means of the versatility interpreted idea of “dedications” (The Tributes) to the famous rock musicians and composers-classics of the 20th century (S. Rachmaninoff, G. Gershwin, S. Prokofiev and D. Shostakovich).

Key words

“Variations” by A. Lloyd-Webber, S. Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on the Theme by N. Paganini”, the ballet “Paganini”, stylistic interactions.

For citation

Andrushchenko E. On the theme by N. Paganini and “according to” S. Rachmaninoff: the notes on “Variations” by A. Lloyd-Webber // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2021. No. 4. Pp. 91–96.