Lilit Grigoryan: „Variations sérieuses“ for solo piano

Once again here, the theme of ‘variations’ is the focus of a project largely funded by the Funk Foundation. In this case, it is this second solo CD from Armenian pianist Lilit Grigoryan, appropriately entitled Variations sérieuses

It will probably be familiar to connoisseurs of classical-romantic piano music. Variations sérieuses is also the title of an equally significant and beloved piano work by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The composer wanted to make an impression with this around 1841 and counteract the gradual disintegration of the variation form (to a means of mere entertainment music) with an accentuated seriousness and expressiveness.

The addition of ‘sérieuses’ serves as a kind of buzzword for all of the other variation cycles included on the CD. Along with Mendelssohn's work, comparably ‘serious’ variations from Bach/Busoni, Beethoven, Bizet and Szymanowski are also included. Beethoven’s Variations in C-Minor WoO 80 can be seen as the secret ‘heart’ of the CD programme here. The piece is composed in the strict style of a chaconne and as such references Bach’s monumental Chaconne for Solo Violin, which Ferruccio Busoni reworked for piano to remarkable effect toward the end of the 19th century. At the same time, Beethoven’s cycle served as a direct source of inspiration for Mendelssohn and above all George Bizet, indeed as a template for their respective masterpieces, both of which are included in this recording. Finally, Karol Szymanowski stood on the shoulders of all the aforementioned composers and made a literally late-romantic contribution to the genre. 

This CD production represents a successful continuation of the intensive partnership between the Funk Foundation and Lilit Grigoryan. The recording itself was made in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem, the acoustics of which are and have been celebrated by such renowned musicians as Herbert von Karajan (with the Berlin Philharmonic) and Anne-Sophie Mutter.  


For further information on the artist Lilit Grigoryan, please visit her website.

You will also find a video trailer on the CD project Variations sérieuses on the YouTube channel of the Funk Foundation.