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Air Suisse Variee

Matteo Carcassi

The musical form Theme and Variations was tremendously popular in the 19th century. Particularly opera melodies were a suitable basis for sometimes almost endless sequences of variations which often included a dazzling display of technical ability which more or less obscured the original theme. Unfortunately this lenghtiness sometimes becomes the end of the popularity of the theme.

Matteo Carcassi did not fail to produce some material for this craze. Though he is mainly known for his Methode Complete pour Guitare Op. 59 and his Melodic and Progressive Studies Op. 60, he did compose quite some more music (his opus number got to 77), of which a lot is virtually forgotten. This repertoire includes some examples of the Theme and Variations.

I found this joyful Air Suisse Variee in some anthology as a nice example of a not so short but also not quite long Theme with Variations, quite complete and finished in style with a Waltz as finale. I guess, Carcassi heard the theme -which is quite holzhackerbuben style- on one of his little trips through the Swiss Alps. Note that this piece is more challenging to play than the Air Montagnard, included on this site.