12 Variarions on 'Je suis Lindor'

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

12 Variarions on 'Je suis Lindor' in Eb major

K299a, K354

About this work

In 1778, Mozart's visit to France resulted in this E flat major set of keyboard variations, a work whose springboard was Antoine-Laurent Baudron's The Barber of Seville. It featured a sprightly number from which "Je suis Lindor" (I Am Lindor), the second couplet of the song, is drawn. Mozart's work is fairly substantial, if light, presenting a range of colorful variations in a piece that lasts well over 15 minutes. The Lindor theme is lively and chipper in its spirited elegance and jaunty playfulness. The first variation does not break from this mood in its busy sixteenth notes, although the ensuing variant is humorous and a bit gruff, by contrast, mainly owing to its running bass accompaniment. The third variation features a childlike innocence in the upper-register ornamentation, while the fourth exudes a slightly anxious manner, and the fifth a hearty, jovial character. The sixth variation maintains much the same kind of mood, but the ensuing variant is filled with color and dazzling writing. The eighth is grand and stately and even turns serious near the end. The ninth, however, is more serious, presenting a slow, dark version of theme with a few playful moments unable to overtake the long stretch of gloom. The tenth and 11th variations recover the sense of play and lightness, while the slow 12th reverts to a dreamy manner. A reprise of the theme closes out this delightful work.