The work takes the form of two original variations appended to Bacevicius' solo piano arrangement of Corelli's Op. 5 no 12.
this theme, an ancient Portugese dance melody, has been
made famous and was composed by him for violin and piano*. This is the
piano solo arrangement of the superb work. The 17th and 18th variations
has been added and are in the modern contemporary atonal mode. For the
music analyst, these last two variations offer a revealing study in
contrast between the old and modern school. No more exquisite variations
have been composed in the entire field of music composition - classic
*Since the Folia variations of Corelli were published in 1700, when the forte-piano was not invented yet, the piano in the text should be read as the harpsichord.
Duration: 0'47", 4 kB.
Duration: 0'48", 4 kB.
The sheet music
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's keyboard output, which is as extensive as it is important, does not yet find the attention it deserves. His "Folies", Wq 118/9, were composed in 1778, thus constituting a very late example of a "folia".
La Folia is a Baroque template which has induced countless composers to write variations. The material first apprears at the end of the fifteenth century and the first set of variations on La Folia is that for chitaronne (guitar) by Johann Hieronymus Kapsberger (1604). Jean Baptiste Lully and Arcangelo Corelli composed important La Folia variations. Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Reger, Rakhmaninov and many other composers later followed. In1778 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote twelve variations for harpsichord set in the key of D minor, which is typical of Folia. They are a fine example of the timeless nature of the material which at that time was already three hundred years old.
Andrés Alberto Gómez
A comparison of C.P.E. Bach's Folie d'Espagne variations demonstrates what a difference the empfindsamer-Stil made to Bach's approach. The Folie d'Espagne variations are highly dramatic. Where Rameau's variations charm with their subtle differences, Bach's are radically different in tempo, texture and mood, from the calculated under-statement of the theme in simple arpeggiated chords, to the twelfth variation, marked sehr geschwind, which brings the work flying to a rather sudden close.
Folie d'Espagne performed by James Bonn
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach's second and most talented son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, is an encyclopedia of fundamental tonal
procedures. There is art intrinsic quality in Bach's keyboard music which stands apart from the music of later composers, despite the tendency
of commentators to consider it mainly as art ovenure to the schools of Viennese classicism. A study of his work reveals a unique musical
consciousness, and a pioneering mind of considerable subtlety.
The set by C.P.E. Bach is entitled 12 Variations auf die Folie d'Espagne W. 118 and is one of his most original works. Unusual modulations and changes of key, unorthodox motives, rhythmic changes, brilliant and expressive keyboard treatment make for heightened interest through-out. The bare set of chords used by Bach could be placed by a more interesting version of the theme and Mr. Bonn treats it in effective triplets. Variation one carefully shares material between the hands while variation two has a brooding atmosphere of repressed power. Special mention should be made of variation three which achieves a magnificent and modern?sounding effect in virtue of "wrong notes" subtly inserted into the arpeggiation. Variation four is mainly imitative while variation five is especially striking as the bass figure is pursued remorselessly to the final cadence. Variation six exploits a "sigh" motif while variation seven partakes of keyboard acrobtics a la Scarlatti. Variation eight is written in a slow French overture style with contrasting dynamics and serves as art introduction to variation nine that is permeated with fleet figurations. Variation ten is imitative between the hands. Variation eleven is a study in syncopation to the final three bars where smooth rhythms take over. The final variation is a perpetual?motion idea with specific fingering indicated by the composer.
Incidentally, at this point in our anthology [Sanz]
we make our first encounter with the 'Folia', which runs through our
programme like a silver thread. The Folia (also Follia) is an
eight-bar (in later forms also sixteen-bar) bass, which was first used
in Spain in 1494 by Juan del Encina. The 'Follia di Spagna' subsequently
developed into one of the most popular bases for variations (the most
famous example is probably the sonata 'La Follia' by Arcangelo Corelli).
The oeuvre by Sanz is normally played on the rizzio guitar, but Brembeck knows how to play these jewels on a delicate clavichord. The sustain of the basses sounds exceptionally well and the Folia by Sanz gets a new dimension this way.
High quality performances of the Folia-variations by Alessandro Scarlatti and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The only small omission is that the documentation does not mention which instrument is used for which track. I guess the performer assumes that we are all familiar with early keyboard instruments and that the C.P.E. Bach Folia can only performed on a copy by Hemsch like Picci's Ballet is made for the copy by Ferrini.
It is of no importance considering the mid-price of this disc and the deal that the famous Fandango by Soler and fantastic transcriptions of Milan and Manuel de Falla are included to make it a bargain I enjoy very much.
Along with many of his contemporaries, he (C.P.E. Bach) was inspired by the "folia", a quietly dignified Portugese dance akin to the passacaglia and known at the time as "Les Folies d'Espagne", whose popularity was such that many of the great composers, up to and including Liszt, made use of it. Taking the exceedingly simple "folia" theme as his starting point, Bach employs a variety of technical and rhythmical means to concoct a succession of extremely subtle ornamental pieces. Whether it be swamped by expressive virtuoso passages, hidden whitin compact counterpuntal textures or placed as a freely mobile bass, this theme remains present throughout.
Joyce Chen plays Folie d'Espagne
Next we have the Variations on the 'Folies d'Espagne' Wq 118-9, H 263, published in Vienna in 1803 though composed in 1778 after the death of his son Johann Sebastian II, in Rome.
Fernando De Luca plays 12 Variations auf die Folie d'Espagne
La Folia (Les Folies), the name of a musical structure for songs, dances and variations that emerged early in the 16th century in Portugal, had developed by the 18th century into a fixed theme much used for variations. The most famous set is Corelli's (1700): C.P.E. Bach's dates from 1778.
Duration:9'37" direct link to YouTube
La «Folía» es una danza portuguesa, cuyo origen
se remonta a tiempos muy antiguos. Ya Pedro 1,
al Justiciero, de Castilla, en el 1350, gustaba de
bailarla, A partir de 1500 se leen alusiones frecuentes
a esta danza en tratadistas de música
como Salinas, en literatos (Gil Vicente, Cervantes
.. . ), encontrándose, por otro lado, gra'n cantidad
de ejemplós musicales de ella en vihuelistas
y cancioneros. A principios del siglo XVII,
se pone de moda en toda Europa, con el nombre
de «Folía de España» ; casi todos los compositores
escribieron sobre este tema, baste decir
que, en tiempos más modernos, hasta Liszt y
Rachmaninoff han utilizado el tema de la «Folía»
en sus composiciones.
Las «Folías de España», de C. Ph. E. Bach (1714- 1788) es una de las más cumpliélas obras escritas con este tema. Sus diferentes variaciones presentan fuertes contrastes. En 1759, C. Ph. E. escribió en su «Vers"llch» o «Tratado sobre el verdadero modo de tañer el clave» : ... - La música ya no busca solo un placer de los oídos, 'sino un desahogo de los más diversos sentimientos del corazón». Dentro de esta nueva corriente estética, de carácter subjetivo y personalista (que en literatura recibe el nombre de «Sturm und Drang») se sitúa su música para tecla; es, por así decir, un anticipo del Romanticismo.
A fantastic live performance of Folies d'Espagne on a spinet
Out of the wealth of Follia compositions traceable from the late 15th century up to the turn of the 20th, we are publishing three salient works for the keyboard. Our edition is based on a critical revision of the source material.
Judith Jáuregui, starting at 8'45"
Likewise, his 12 Variations on the familiar theme Folies d'Espagne, which Corelli had already dealt with, permit us to sense the then so heralded virtuoso. His aim was, as he wrote, ' through the medium of instruments to express as much as is possibl, where it would otherwise be much simpler to use the voice and words.' He surprises the listener with unexpected rests or sudden changes from pianissimo to fortissimo, by recitatives, rubati, romantic motifs and rhythmic contours.
Folie d'Espagne performed by Ruggero Laganà
The date of composition of the variations on the 'Folies d'Espagne (Wotquenne 118 no 9) is unknown. the piece was first published in Vienna fifteen years after Bach's death. The 'Folies d'Espagne' or 'La Follia' as it was often called wa a melody (or more precisely a melodic pattern with an associated bass pattern) on which composers from Frescobaldi and Corelli to Liszt and Rachmaninov wrote variations. Bach's set consists of twelve variations in varying tempi. Nos 3, 7, 9 and the final one are particularly brilliant.
Carl Philipp had underlined the importance of the variation in the preface to his Sechs Sonaten fürs Clavier mit veränderten Reprisen (Berlin 1760): "It is indispensable nowadays to alter repeats. One expects itof every performer.
What he might not have expected was that in these regions in the final trimester of the eighteenth century the folia was a familiar theme for the man in the street albeit something archaic. The twelve variations on "Les Folies d'Espagne" Wq 118/9 blur the inherent character of the dance to unfold a broad range of fantasy, virtuosity, contrasting characters - I would say theatrical - and expressions carried to the extreme.
The 12 Variations on "la Folia" Wq.118/9,
H.263, composed in 1778, was the last but
one of the twelve independent variation sets
written by Emanuel Bach. Published in 1803,
five years after Bach's death, by Traeg in
Vienna, it is not clear whether the Variations
were intended for harpsichord, clavichord or
forte piano in spite of the fact that the title page
. of the Traeg edition indicates them as "pour le
Forte-Piano." It was common practice for
publishers, in the interest of financial profits, to
indicate the instrument according to current
taste and by 1802 the fortepiano was the
preferred instrument in Vienna. Probably
the Variations would have been played on
whichever k~yboard instrument was at hand.
While we know of Bach's preference in general
for the clavichord, these brilliant variations
work equally well-albeit differently-on all
The Variations are based on a well-known theme-a simple circular harmonic pattern or bass line of 8 bars known variously as La Folia !Italian and Portuguese) and Les Folies d'Espagne (French). The harmonic progression was used as a basis for variations by many composers for over 300 years, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and even into the nineteenth and twentieth (Liszt and .Rachmaninov). Probably the most famous set is Corelli's Violin Sonata Op. 5/12.
La Folia, literally madness or insanity, originated as a fertility dance in Portugal and was described as wild, noisy and fast (hence the name 'Fo lia'). Adopted by Spaniards, ii was refined into a type of courting dance with characteristics of a sarabande. By 1789, Daniel Gottlob TUrk in his Klavierschule (School of Clavier Playing) describes it as "a 'very simple Spanish dance in 3/4 measure of a serious character."
Bach's Variations, although a late work, are heavily imbued with Baroque style: they are all essential ly two-voice with' the exception of variation 8 which has the character of a French overture; Variations 4 and 10 are canons; the virtuosic variations (3, 5, 7 and 12) use typical Baroque figurations and rhythmic patterns; overall there is a strong sense of dialogue between the left and right hands; all the variations are in d minor without even a change of modality.
These are character variations using different metres and tempi and there is a pronounced feeling of alternation between light and dark or bright and serious moods as we move from variation to variation, My interpretation of these emotions may serve as a guide: Var.1 - flirtatious; Var.2- pompous; Var.3- soothing, almost impressionistic with its "wrong-note" filigree pattern; Var.4- serious; Var.5- high spirited with its pounding left-hand rhythmic figure . covering the full range of the bottom half of the keyboard; Var.6- gentle, consoling; Var.7- a comedy; Var.8- passionate, alternating between gentleness and forcefulness; Var.9- playful; Var.10-a serious conversation; Var.11 - heavy-hearted with its syncopated melody; Var.12- exuberant, with right-hand scales covering most of the range of the keyboard.
In the eighteenth century it was common practice to repeat the origina l theme as a conclusioQ to variations whether or not the composer had written it out. Bach barely sketches an outline of the Folia theme at the beginning of the score and he does not re -write it at the end. I have chosen to repeat the theme and to embellish it both at the beginning and at the end, drawing in references to Corelli's melody from his violin sonata. The final state ment is for me a distillation of the essence of La Folia.
The twelve Folia variations show a different side of Philip's art, the virtuoso pure and simple. They may have been written for the harpsichord, but were more likely intended to demonstrate all the facets of the new forte-piano
Man muss nur die '12 Variationen über "Les Folies d'Espagne"' kennen und die besonderen Qualitäten des Clavichords zu schätzen, das vermutlich im mittleren und späten 18.Jahrhundert im deutschsprachigen Raum des bekannteste häusliche Tasteninstrument war. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs begründete Liebe zum Clavichord wird hier besonders dokumentiert; denn in diesen Variationen spielt er die ganze Klankfülle der verschiedenen Register des Instruments aus und nutzt die Möglichkeit zur detaillierten Artikulation.
Les Folies d'Espagne by Lisedore Praetorius
Robert Woolley plays all variations by C.P.E. Bach
Les Folies d'Espagne by Rafael Puyana
The remarkable Variations on Les Folies d'Espagne by
C.Ph.E. Bach though transitional in style, are included here as they
extend the influence of the French School, and other charasteristics
of the Baroque style through the 'classical' period into Romaticism.
Les Folies d'Espagne is equally suited to the harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano. Its composer was a master performer on all three instruments although his approach to each is known to have been distinctly different. On the harpsichord, the performer should, in my opinion, follow the original dynamic nuances by means of refined registration, for instance, two-keyboard- playing on eight-foot stops to achieve the desired forte and piano effects in Variation 2. On the whole, the harpsichordist must colour each variation according to its mood and retain, whenever possible, the legato-touch and plaintive rubato typical of clavichord playing (Variation 6 and 11). Levels of sound can be distributed effectively to secure the pianistic, Beethoven-like contrast essential to Variation contrast essential to Variation 8. The overall interpretation of phrasing, embellishments and rhythmic alterations should be oriented towards Baroque traditions, which are a part of C.Ph.E. Bach's musical image. The 'Thema' was not expected to be performed as written but must be ornamented. It can be brought back 'da capo' at the end of the composition, to complete the triptychlike form which composers usually applied to a set of variations. I have chosen to ornament the 'Thema' and its 'da capo' à la francaise, although both realisations differ in spirit altogether.
Folie d'Espagne performed by Rafael Puyana
[...] Does this make Soler's fandago the most unconventional piece of this selection? Thomas Ragossnig: Certainly. However, concerning the liberal treatment of the thematic material, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach with his folia variations also pursues a unique, yet completely different, path. Again, it is bass variations, though not improvised but experimentally and very densely composed in full. Bach intervenes with the form of the theme crafting respectively individual, contrasting characters therefrom which stand at a distinctive distance from this original form. In his case, the theme undergoes a true metamorphosis in several variations contrary to Mozart's variations on Ah, vous dirai-je Maman, where the theme of the song can be clearly discerned at any time. The selection of themes is in itself characteristic with these composers: C. Ph. E. Bach with the folia resorts to a model known since the 16th century that had gone out of fashion and from which he then developed something of a very contemporary if not future-oriented nature. Mozart, on the other hand, in the same year of 1778 composed a more transparent, less deviated playing form about a song which was popular then.
The variations on the theme Folie d'Espagne also bear an experimental character: the composer addressed himself to a wholly antiquared theme whose harmony cannot be meaningfully integrated into the the musical language of the later eighteenth century - it was a mannered, almost absurd undertaking, perhaps the first example of a variations cycle with an ironic distance to the theme.
Chia-Hsuan Tsai plays Folie d'Espagne
.Faythe Vollrath - La Folia: a Tumultuous Evening of Music, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Sacramento, CA
Dr. Faythe Vollrath presents a performance of solo harpsichord music in downtown Sacramento at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, K and 11th Streets. This concert explores the fascinating and complex world of the "La Folia", one of the world's oldest musical themes. From its early days as a frenzied and tumultuous folk dance to its latter elevated status in the courts of France, this intriguing and versatile theme skips its way through the centuries, taking unexpected twists and turns throughout the concert. The concert focuses on music from the Baroque era, with each selection containing, or referring to, the "La Folia" theme. Through this unifying factor, the audience will experience a wide selection of differing types of music and different composers, providing an entertaining overview into the world of the harpsichord.
Faythe Vollrath plays Folie d'Espagne
Duration: 6'38", 6.2 Mb. (128KB/s, 44100 Hz)
Probably there is no recording of this piece for organ and I never heard it during a concert either. Despite these facts,
I think the organ has some features which are very suitable for the way Carl Philipp treated the Folia theme
in most variations. I left out variation number five while the keys for the left hand are not available
on the organ and a work around has some disadvantages in this particular case.
There are three main reasons to play this piece on the organ and not on the harpsichord or clavichord which is common practice.
First of all the organ of the Sint-Martinus Church (built in 1839 with a late Baroque disposition and intonation and restored in 2001) is very appropriate for the repertoire of C.Ph.E Bach based upon the experience of several organ-players the last couple of years. As a harpsichordist I knew the Folies d'Espagne by C.P.E. Bach but the acoustics of this particular church (resonance) is more suitable for the organ than for the harpsichord. Especially the 'Sturm und Drang' effects, the contrasts in dynamics, rhythms, and voicing (registers) fit in nicely.
The second reason has an historical background. In the 19th Century, local organ-players in this region (Brabant) frequently played music originally written for piano and orchestra. There was relatively less literature for organ to be heard. These roots are still often taken into account during concerts. Besides it was around the era of the Baroque not often clear for which instrument pieces were written in the first place.
The third reason is more of a practical kind. The program already had a concert for flute by C.P.E. Bach included and as I am scheduled as solo organ player in between I looked for common grounds.
Some additional information about the performance: to avoid a blur of voices it is essential to know both the organ (and its stops) and the acoustical features of the space where the organ is located. In the church of Sint-Oedenrode there is serious resonance. So the way to play this piece is a harpsichordistic playing style to produce a transparant articulation.
variation IV: the upper voice is played with the right hand on the upper manual 8' (Holpijp8 & Roerfluit4) (the normal pitch) and the lower voice is played with the left hand on the lower manual 4' (Fluit4 + Gemsh. 2). In this manner the two voices which are normally separated by an octave, now got interwoven like a wreath.
Variation VIII reminds me of effects Beethoven used as I once had read about this variation.
I will perform this piece at several concerts this summer
Zaterdagavond 23 juni 2012 om 20.12 uur in de Maria Magdalenakerk in Brugge http://www.yot.be/
Openingsmanifestatie zomerproject 2012 'ONE' van “Yot” Axel Wenstedt, Schijvenorgel 1875
Zaterdag 30 juni 2012 15.30uur Martinuskerk Sint-Oedenrode: orgel + saxofoon + poezie http://www.sintmartinusparochie.nl/smitsorgel/
Axel Wenstedt, Smitsorgel 1839 mmv Jo Hennen, sopraan- alt- en tenorsaxofoon (Geldrop) en Julius Dreyfsandt zu Schlamm, dichter (Sint-Oedenrode)
Donderdag 2 augustus 2012 15.30 uur dorpskerk in Vorden http://www.muziekdorpskerkvorden.nl/
Axel Wenstedt, Lohmannorgel 1834 Zaterdag 4 augustus 2012 12.30 uur Zutphen Walkburgiskerk
Axel Wenstedt, Ahrend- en Baderorgel en Jos Koning, barokviool / viola d’amore
zondag 5 augustus 2012 12.30 uur Deventer, Bergkerk
Axel Wenstedt, orgel
Jos Koning, barokviool / viola d’amore
Julius Dreyfsandt zu Schlamm, dichter (Sint-Oedenrode) .
Folie d'Espagne performed on the organ by Kerstin Wolf
Foliations (the contraction of Folia and Variations
referring to the origins of the word Folia as empty-headed or madness)
was written in 1995 for the Stockholm Chamber Brass, a brass quintet which
commissioned it to go on a CD album of Renaissance music. I decided to base
my work on the later version of 'La Folia', which nevertheless has enough
ties to the 'earlier' piece that I thought it would fit right in with the
other Renaissance pieces on the album. I wrote the work as a 'sandwich':
the beginning THEME and the concluding CHORALE and FUGA are immovable as
the outside movements of the work, but the remaining eighteen short variations
are to be used as a source from which any number may be played and in any
order. The musicians make their own choice how the work will be performed.
In fact, when I mailed the piece (with the parts for each variation on a separate piece of paper) each player got the movements in a different alphabetical order, with Trumpet I receiving the parts with their titles' first letter alphabetized, Trumpet II getting the second letter alphabetized, and so on. I have no 'correct' order in which the parts should be performed.
The variations are primarily sectional, ornamental variations, based on the chord changes of the original along with some chord substitutes. The titles (working titles, really -- they needn't be listed in the program), aside from the Theme, Chorale and Fuga, are: American, Arpeggios, Austrian, Bumptious, Caccia, Cadenzas, Canzona, Germanic (duet), Phlegmatic, Reflectively, Rococo, Romanie, Russian, Scholarly, Stealthily, Tersely, Trio, and Wistful.
It was intended that, because the work was originally to be recorded as its premiere, the movements could be continuous; even page turns would be no problem if the performers played each movement as a single "take", and then the recording engineer could butt them up against each other. I really don't know how the performers are going to handle the page turns in a live performance; they may have to take slight breaks between the variations because they generally play throughout each variation. La Folia has been of interest to me since I took violin lessons as a youth and played the Corelli version; it's got a great harmonic progression.
Duration: 1'32", 5 kB.
Duration: 1'52", 1776 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'04", 3 kB.
Duration: 1'05", 1080 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'09", 1108 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'04", 1038 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'10", 1166 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 5'45", 5468 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
|Opening of Foliations for Brass Quintet||reproduced by permission of Meadow Music|
The sheet music
Duration: 1'53", 06 kB.
|Intro of Unser trefflicher lieber Kamerherr
for violino, viola and continuo
|by Bärenreiter-Verlag Kassel, 1975|
Duration: 1'03", 1 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
In the so-called 'Peasants' cantate, BWV 212, Johann Sebastian Bach paints a picture of the village dances of his time. Each air is repeated with a different dance rhythm, and this tune refers to the Folia where one clearly hears the theme played at the beginning. Unusually for Bach the text, 'our servant is a very pleasant man' has little to do with its musical setting. The short variations follow on from each other in the same way as do the instruments and voice in magnificent harmonic shades.Has J.S. Bach ever heard the Folia theme himself?
What is Italian about these variations has always been rather a puzzle, but I think it could be have been that they had different tempi and tempo-signs, unfamiliar in Germany but learnt by Bach from Corelli's La Folía, the last of the solo violin sonatas Op.5 (hence maniera italiana)
The Folïa theme appears in its entirety as well as in truncated pieces, and is also altered into the relative major for additional variety, and my choice of caccia and fughetta were additional contrapuntal ways of extending the theme.
Why did I choose the theme? In large part, because I remain devoted to traditional forms and subjects, and the theme had been mentioned on the website Musical Assumptions by Elaine Fine which led me to yours. In the same way that many composers have favored traditional forms for their work, I too favor them, and this form was new to me in its history – thank you for your site again, therefore – and in its interest to many composers. Looking at it, I was immediately struck at some alternatives in terms of breaking it apart into material for an extended piece. In doing so, it simply became jolly fun to follow along the many possibilities which it suggested. Having used cantus firmus themes in some of my organ work, this became both a cantus firmus of harmonic structures and relationships, and a fertile field for invention.
Duration: 5'44", 5490 kB (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle Europe (Sébastien van Kuijk cello), Nicolas Krauze, conductor
A former winner of the Prix de Rome, Bacri writes in a fairly
traditional idiom which strives for direct communication and expression.
At turns influenced by Shostakovich and Frank Martin, Bacri's music is characterized
by a fondness for melody and chromatic harmonies that result from clear
voice-leading. There is nothing really new here, of course, but it makes
for enjoyable pieces.
Folia was originally written for orchestra in 1990 and was premiered on 15 April 1993 in Paris by the Orchestre symphonique français and Laurent Petitgirard. This nine-minute chaconne is scored for a medium-size orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, xylophone, snare drum, triangle, and strings. It is based on a two-measure pattern taken from the 17th-century folia. Over and under this two-measure pattern, Bacri writes gently flowing chromatic melodies. The first section of the piece is marked by constantly increasing activity:, with the quarter-note melody going successively into eighth notes, triplet eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and thirty-second notes, to finally culminate in a homophonic presentation of the basic pattern. The second section, marked Dialogo, is a Scherzo in 9/8 time, based on motives derived from the osinato pattern and from the melody of the first section, with a slow Trio in 3/4 time. The third and last section of the piece is marked Epilogo and features slow chromatic counterpoint, which leads gradualy into a statement of the original folia. The orchestration remains traditional throughout, with only a few technical challenges for the strings. The arrangement of Folia for solo viola (or solo cello) and string orchestra has a solo part that is particularly demanding, while the orchestra part is not difficult.
© 1996 by Sonances and used with permission.
Folia, originally conceived as a kind of 'show-piece' for l'Orchestre Symphonique Français and dedicated to its musical director Laurent Petitgirard, is interpreted here in the version for solo viola and chamber orchestra. The process leading from the first to the second version is allied to the theme of the Variations and Theme, the germ of which was originally found in a duet for violin and viola written shortly before and entitled Chaconne. 'While composing the duet I realised that this theme was closely allied to that of Folies d'Espagne; so I decided to transcribe and develop it for orchestra. In its new form the piece has the structure of Variations and Theme'. The transcription of Folia in the version recorded here was inspired by Bacri's fascination with Britten's 'Lachrymae', a work for viola and string orchestra similarly constructed.
Duration: 1'13", 04 kB.
|Theme of Folies d'Espagne in a lay-out
derived from the original notation
|reproduced with permission from
the Minkoff-edition 1972 p.16
|Theme of Les Folies d'Espagnes (1781)|
This arrangement was commissioned by Music Works Northwest, Seattle Washington USA for a premiere performance at the Olympic Recital Hall, April 1, 2006. As far as I know this is the only Folia set to an Afro-Peruvian Lando groove.
Duration: 1'05", 833 kB (96kB/s, 44100Hz)
Duration: 7'26" direct link to YouTube
Duration: 5'05" direct link to YouTube
I assume it was written for harpsichord (I play it on both clavichord and harpsichord and think it works better on the latter). The piece consists the statement of the theme and two variations, essentially the ground bass and treble almost entirely in dotted eighth and sixteenth notes. Very 'dancy'.
Duration: 0'28", 01 kB.
|Opening of La Folie D'Espagne||Baustetter|
Folia, Anon. from E Bc M. 1452 by Becky Baxter and friends
The Folia track presents an accompanying instrumentation that became quite popular in Spain: harp and guitar. The various rhythmic patterns and accompaniment patterns used by the harp, guitar, and vihuela on this recording are entirely improvised. We chose to experiment on this recording by presenting the diferencias organized or grouped in pairs instead of a nonstop delivery of the melodic material. Only the melody is given in the manuscript.
The title of the piece specifically says "avec douze nouvelles variations," so I assume that the variations are composed by Beauvarlet-Charpentier and are not just plain transcriptions of variations by Corelli.
The sheet music
Duration: 6'52", 30 kB.
Concerning the Folies d'Espagne by J-B Bedard, I found
it at the Bibliothèque Nationale (note: the French national archives
for books and manuscripts, it is also the depository for anything that
was/is printed, even nowadays, you can imagine the volume !) 25 years
ago and I still have a copy. Bedard was a guitar teacher who lived between
the middle of the XVIIIth century till the beginning of the XIXth. He
wrote very few pieces of interest, as was often the case for the guitar
at that time. If it wasn't for my arrangement of his 'Variations sur
la Foliá', this piece would have seemed 'rather plain' to my
colleagues. Moreover, the tremolo (note: the 10th) variation is mine:
this style appeared only starting from the middle of the XIXth, if my
sources are correct. I wanted that piece to be technically complete.
Oddly enough I will do it again with the volume that is due to come out in September 2001. This time it will be a Folia from the XVIIth century that had been written for the lute.
12 pages in pdf, 321 kB
Duration: 8'08", 36 kB.
Attached I am sending copies of the originals of this Folias Op.39/2 by Jean-Baptiste Bédard. The Lyre ou Guitare parts are identical in both versions. Actually it comes from the same printing plate nº 27. The duo version is from D:Mbs München, and the solo version from F:Pn Paris.
On your documentation you have already the Bédard Folias stating that it is from F:Pn also, but as I realize, in the tema the interpreter uses a different rhythmical pattern, and so on (note from the redaction: the music with Jean-Baptiste Mourat as the editor).
Just before I sent you a score of this Folias in PDF of the original duo by Bédard, and also the same as a MIDI file. This MIDI file is just a guide, the sound is electronic, and not imitating the original instruments.
As indicated these two passages (editor: in the previous part a fragment of Mozart's Requiem and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 were mentioned) are based on the Folia pattern in an analogous way, that is the melodic pattern established by the first few tones extends into a sequence. To my knowledge neither link has been mentioned in older theoretical treatises. So we wonder if composers were aware of possible derivations. Certainly Beethoven's use of the original Folia pattern (without labeling it as such) is curious; see the second movement, measures 167-176 of the Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, the second movement 1-8, of the Sonata No 3, in A Major for Cello and Piano, Opus 69 and slightly altered the second theme of the first movement of the Concerto No. 5 in E-flat for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73 (measures 38-45). Moreover, Beethoven used the Folia sequence in such works as the Symphony No. 4 in B-flat (first movement, measures 89-92) and the Sonata in E Major Opus 109 (first movement, measures 27-32). But it is difficult to assign an extramusical or affective meaning to these passages with any degree of consistency.To understand the context better Hoyt gives in 2002 for this website a more detailed description of the Beethoven fragments in relation to the Folia-theme:
As noted before, I would say that the example from the Fifth
Symphony is the most pure. The example from the scherzo of the Cello Sonata
repeats the initial tonic chord and the cadence at the end of the phrase.
In A minor I would consider the Folia bass to be A-E-A-G-C-G-A-E (or E-A).
The cello sonata example is A-A-E-A-G-A-G-A-E-A-E-A. (with the first E repeated
twice, one E per beat in the third measure). Perhaps it would be more clear
to diagram this using vertical lines to represent barlines:
A | A | E E E| A | G | A G| A E A | E A |
The 'Emperor' Concerto example consists of many repetitions of the fourth leaps, starting with the anacrusis to measure 38 (key of E-flat minor):
Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Eb Bb Eb Db | Db Gb Db Db| Gb Db Gb Eb|F Eb F Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Bb....
which elaborates Eb Bb Eb Db Gb Db Eb Bb'.
The variations of the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony too include a strikingly archaic moment: in the tonic minor at bars 166ff can be discerned a complete statement of 'La Folia'.
It (la Folia-theme) was used by Beethoven too in his Fifth Symphony where it is quoted in the harmony towards the end of the slow movement - a fact which apparently escaped musicological detection until 1994 when it was recognized by an Open University student, Lucy Hayward-Warburton (to the astonishment of her tutor)'.
Duration: 0'32", 04 kB.
|Excerpt of Folia-theme by Beethoven
for only flutes, viole and celli
|by Leipzig Verlag von
Breitkopf & Härtel
The sixth prelude is based on the 'later' Folia-theme, though altered in rhythm and meter. As for the choice of la Folia, i believed it would serve very well as the basis for a jazz prelude and it did. Similarly, I employed a theme based on the letters B.A.C.H. for the 12th fugue. I worked on the pieces in this set over a number of years, so the publication and recording date of 1992 means they were composed prior to that date, but I don't have a composition date for each individual prelude and fugue in the set.
A live performance by Yu Chien Chen
The sheet music
Duration: 6'55", 45 kB.
|Theme of 'Follia', part of the Sonata in d minor||arrangement David Lasocki|
The famous theme of La Folia (originally a type of wild Portuguese dance) was used by many composers of the baroque era. It is found as the Adagio movement of the third of Bellinzani's twelve Sonate a flauto solo con cembalo o violoncello, Opus 3, published in Venice in 1720. Preceded by a joyful intermezzo for solo harpsichord, designed 'per respiro de flauto' (i.e. to enable the flautist to get his breath), the theme is exploited in seventeen variations, during which it undergoes all sorts of rhythmic and melodic transformations.
The twelfth, the present piece, has an unusual form. After two movements of what seems to be a sonata, there follows a movement for solo harpsichord headed, literally 'harpsichord solo give the recorder a rest', and finally comes a long set of variations for recorder and basso continuo on La Follia. The desire to end the collection with these variations is presumably a nod in the direction of the composer's hero, Corelli. although the unprecedented (?) tacking on of three such other movements owes nothing to the master
The adagio of Sonata no. 12 in D minor takes up the famous
theme 'La Follia',
which was used by numerous composers in the 17th and 18th centuries
(including Frescobaldi, Corelli,
François Couperin, Carl
Philipp Emanuel Bach, to name but a few). It is preceded by a joyful
intermezzo for solo harpsichord, written specially by Bellinzani per
respiro del flauto, i.e. to allow the flautist to get his breath
back ready for the following variations. Already known in the 16th century,
the melody from 'La Follia' which was originally a wild Portuguese dance,
came to be used in instrumental music as the subject of variations,
close to the chaconne or the passacaglia, on a basso ostinato.
Bellinzani exploits this theme in seventeen variations, which severely test the soloist's technique: theme and variation on the bass (var.1), series of semiquavers on the recorder (var.2), perpetual motion (var.4), imitation in dialogue between the soloist and the bass (var.5), theme to the rhythm of a gigue (var.6 and 7), repeated bounding notes (var.8), an expressive syncopated largo (var.9), series of swift arpeggios passing from the recorder to the bass or progressing in contrary motion (var.10 to 14), use of syncopation (var.15). After a fast gigue (var.16), Bellinzani brings his series of sonatas to an end with a final variation, providing a truly pyrotechnic display of virtuosity.
My composition is a salutation to the wig-headed ancestors,
by a modern musician, anno Domini 2002. That is why I have chosen the format
midi. To listen to the midi the Soundblaster (SB) Live! is recommended -
the piece is optimized and balanced on it. (On this card choose the 'Concert
Hall'-environment setting for the really authentic feeling). The software
was a 'Midisoft Session', without midi-keyboard, only with manual scoring
from bar-to-bar. The instruments are: a violin, a flute and - of course
- the lute (or guitar, in the original sound bank).
'The Folia' starts of course with the main-theme, and goes forward by a builded theme-sequence (first a third-scale, and after a normal variation), from the simple to the virtuous one. As lutenist, I fit a soloistic lute variation-part into it, with an inverse section, without lute, which two parts appear also together at the end. At the top of its musical expressions I placed a three-part fugato - not a 'real' fugue, perhaps a more serious canon with the diminued scores of the main theme - at the 'exposition' it ends with a 'coda' - and it finishes with a choral-style, and a 'pseudo poliphonic', rather virtuous 'running', before the last some bars, including a melodic coda-variation.
Duration: 5'58", 28 kB.
Duration: 6'07", 14 kB.
6 pages in pdf, 67 kB
The idea of composing some variations of the Folía came from listening for the first time to the famous variations of J.B.Lully. The theme was simple and catcthing too so I searched at the internet and found this site (www.folias.nl). I began listening to some samples and other variations by various composers that definitely inspired my work. Every variation I made is based on a peculiar element (time changes, chromatism..), a sort of etude but there isn't a guideline: I simply wrote the variations as they came in my mind.
Duration: 1'38", 6 kB.
2 pages in pdf, 67 kB
The origin of this variations (as well as the theme) is curious, because they are inspired by the piece "Partita Sopra folia" by G.Frescobaldi, and I also believe they can be used as an introduction. My real intention was to play the song (I didn't have the score), but in the track I listened to the harpsichord, it wasn't tuned using equal temperament so I was misled. I failed to reproduce the song nevertheless I created a new piece.
The Taizé community performance
The song "Laudate Dominum" sets words from Psalm
117 to the Folia theme; it was composed in about 1980 by Jacques Berthier
(1923-1994) for the Taizé community, and it has become one of the
best-known of the songs of Taizé. The song is published by the Ateliers
and Presses de Taizé in numerous songbooks, which include solo verses
in different languages and instrumental accompaniments.
It appears in the following recordings, all made at Taizé in France, in versions that include solo verses in different languages. In each case, the performers are young people visiting Taizé to take part in the intercontinental meetings at Taizé: T 554 Jubilate (1991), T 559 Liederen uit Taizé (1997), T 560 Chants de la prière à Taizé (1998), T 561 Canti della preghiera a Taizé (1998), T 562 Joy on earth (1999), T 563 Auf dich Vertrau'ich (2000)
Animation 'The monk and the fish'
Duration: 0'31", 02 kB.
Andrew Stroud and Adam Larison (guitars) play thew entire composition
|Theme of Variations pour deux guitar||Used with permission ('Just Guitar')|
Duration: 16'44", 15.5 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
This Follia for cello is not very known by the instrumentalists. You can access to it at IMSLP -submitted by the user "Generoso" the 5 IV 2010- or on the originally scanned source, the Music Library at the University of South Carolina. As a secondary fact, this work is one of the most difficult study-pieces ever written for the instrument up to its date of composition. Unfortunately, the quality of the scanner is not very good.
Ensemble Laude Novella and Ensemble Insula Magica
All the music on this recording is from the Baroque
period. Some of it is by more-or-less well-known composers, the rest
is from collections of unattributed music recorded on paper during the
same period. It is not surprising that "La Folia" - the greatest
hit of the eighteenth century - makes more than one appearance. You
are probably wondering about the nyckelharpa. This is a Swedish instrument
similar to a viola but played with keys along the broad neck. In addition
to three or four bowed strings, the instrument has up to thirteen metal
sympathetic strings, like a sitar. It is played on the lap. The nyckelharpa
has a sharp, tangy, insistent sound which blends well with the baroque
instruments. There is also a certain amount of clicking from the keyboard,
especially in the faster passages, which in no way detracts from the
charm of the instrument.
Macklin and the backup band keep lively time and exhibit a good understanding of Baroque ornamentation. This may be a unique opportunity to hear music of the Baroque court played on this peasant instrument, as there is apparently no evidence that the nyckelharpa was used in this setting.
The Swedish folk music in this recording includes a set of variations on Foli d'Espagne, taken from the collection made by Gustav Blidström in 1715. This collection documents the music current among the Swedish peasantry at the time. There is no great difference between this folk music and its contemporary through-composed music, as the Allegro of Mascitti's Sonata begins with the same melodic line as La Folia.
Duration: 4'19", 10 kB.
The Folia appears as a trio to the Minuet (second movement) and is very extensive, alluding to Corelli but with highly elaborate pre-Romantic textures. Since he lived in Spain and had a dance background (his brother was a famous dancer-choreographer), this is easily the most effective late 18th century folia setting, and in a sense the last of the main line, since later treatments are usually 'historical' in style or used as local color. Unfortunately, neither the music itself or recordings are easy to find. The Quintetto Boccherini recorded it in the 50's or 60's, but it has not made it to CD. There is no modern edition of the music, but a facsimile is available from the King's Music in the UK.
La Folía in D minor
My name is Jose Bravo, a violinist by nature, a composer by necessity. I heard of Vivaldi's version of La Folia (Opus 1, No 12) and just fell in love with it. Ever since, the theme has enchanted me with it's simplistic, yet incredibly rigourous variations. Several years, I began on my Folia and for a hiatus of about 2 years, I never completed it. Certain inspiration pushed me to reinvigorate my desire to finish this piece and just finished writing it recently. As you can suspect, Vivaldi's version of La Folia has influenced me greatly when writing this piece. I wish (if possible) for this piece to be added to the "La Folia" site for the benefit of others.
4 pages in pdf, 743 kB
Der Verleger Bremner veröffentichte eine ganze Reihe von Bänden mit Claviermusik über populäre Themen. Ob er auch selbst der Urheber der Variationenist, bleibt unklar. Jedem Variationszyklus ist ein kurzes Prelude vorangestellt, das aber nie mehr als eine einfache Kadenzformel ist.
The folia ("Farinelli's Ground") was set to satirical anti-Whig lyrics as "Joy to Great Caesar" by Tom D'Urfey, court jester to Charles II.
Composed for the 2011 PLU Guitar Festival Orchestra
Initially it may seem hard to understand what it is about that tiny tune, La Folia, that has caught the attention of so many musicians through the history of music. But perhaps it is just the fact, that it is merely a template. It is like a mould that you can fill with almost anything. I made the simple cadenza-like chord structure in La Folia even more simple in my variations. Instead the variations unfold in rhytmical, metric and melodic ornamentations.
Duration: 1'00", 941 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
The first public performance by polish guitarist Marek Walawender
had place in Warszawa (Warsaw) in December 1997. We've tried to record it
in Autmn 1998, but the recording has never been published or used in the
Why I used the 'la Folia'-theme in a composition is not that difficult to understand. I often use some musical themes from the past in my compositions. I try to combine the 'classical' ideas with the modern musical language. Look at the list of my compositions http://www.budzynski.waw.pl (a Polish and English version) - you will find there also such pieces as 'Passacaglia', 'Sonata', 'Concerto', 'Partita concertante' etc.
Three sessions in May 1951 found Bachauer, Sherman and the orchestra he founded in 1941 assembled for the recording of two contrasting works, both pivotal to Gina Bachauer’s repertoire- Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto and Busoni’s transcription of Liszt’s Rapsodie espagnole. (If the New London Orchestra was predominantly a chamber ensemble, augmented it cut more than persuasive dash in Busoni’s multicoulored orchetstration of Liszt).
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