The Variations op. 54 which Felix Mendelssohn contributed to a benefit album in 1841 in aid of the Beethoven memorial in Bonn were intended to be »serious«. The attribute refers less to the musical character of the work than the composer’s desire to write something quite different from the usual applause-seeking "Variations brillantes" of the period. The Variations sérieuses op. 54 are today considered one of the key works of the Romantic piano repertoire. They gave the composer the impetus to study this music form in great depth. Following on directly, Mendelssohn wrote the Variations in E-flat op. 82 and B-flat major op. 83, published posthumously. These are "lighter" works, both in tonalapproach and also in their technical demands.
The edition brings together Mendelssohn’s three most important sets of variations for piano – opp. 54, 82 and 83. It offers the versions of the firsteditions and in addition, for the first time, the numerous variants which survive in different autograph manuscripts. This offers an insight into the genesis of creating the pieces and also opens a wide field of artistic discussion for the interpreter.