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Special Music School Pianist Anna Kesselman Shares Schumann's "Abegg" Variations

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December 20, 2022

Pianist and Special Music School 10th grader Anna Kesselman shares her experience with Robert Schumann’s “Abegg” Variations along with some fun facts about the composer’s first published work, which he composed at age 19.

  • Anna first performed this piece when she was in 8th grade, and has since taken breaks and then returned to it. “It’s been fun to know a piece so intimately and to be able to grow with it.
     
  • What she loves: “I like how emotional it is, and how you can follow a story,” and the contrast between the energetic and dainty passages.
     
  • What’s challenging: Making sure she’s catching every note while still staying true to the composer’s musical intentions.
     
  • The piece is a “theme and variations”: The theme is stated at the beginning in its simplest format and gets progressively more complicated.
     
  • Schumann wrote it for a woman he was in love with, Pauline von Abegg. The theme spells out her name: A, B flat, E, GG.
     
  • Aside from Schumann, Anna loves to play Chopin, Liszt and other Romantic composers

Watch Anna rehearse the piece: