Composed by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
For flute, violin, and piano duet (4 hands)
Published by Faber Music
Duration: 15 minutes
Includes 2 parts for flute and violin in score form and a piano score
Op. 73, Twelve Variations and Fugue on an Epigram of Zoltan Kodaly.
THEME: Maestoso (piano duet, with ad lib. flute and violin)
Variation I: Prestissimo scherzando (piano solo)
Variation II: Moderato (violin and piano)
Variation III: Allegro (violin solo)
Variation IV: Grazioso (flute and violin)
Variation V: CANONE Vivace (flute and violin)
Variation VI: SPECCHIO I Lento tranquillo (flute and violin)
Variation VII: CADENZA (flute solo)
Variation VIII: Appassionato (flute and piano)
Variation IX: FANFARA Allegro (piano solo)
Variation X: MARCIA Allegro (piano duet, with ad lib. flute and violin)
Variation XI: SPECCHIO II Misterioso (piano duet)
Variation XII: ROMANZA Andante rubato (piano solo)
FUGUE: Molto moderato (flute, violin, and piano duet, with ad lib flute and violin)
When in Budapest in the Spring of 1964 at a Music Club meeting for children, I was very taken by the musical gifts of two twelve-year-old twins. Each played the piano, one the flute and the other the violin; they sang, sight-read, and answered difficult musical questions. It turned out that they were the sons of one of Budapest's most distinguished flute players. At the end of the meeting they approached me and charmingly, if forcefully, asked me to write them a work. Though I claimed that I was too busy, my refusal was brushed aside; however, I insisted on one small bargaining point; I would do it only if they would write me a long letter telling me all about themselves, their work and their play – in English. I felt safe. After a week or two, however, the letter arrived, in vivid and idiosyncratic English, and I felt I must honour my promise. Here it is. The boys came to the Aldeburgh Festival to give the first performacne of Gemini Variations on June 19th, 1965, and subsequently played it in London (recording it for Decca), Brussels, Budapest and all over Hungary.
I realise that some musicians who wish to play the work may not be quite so versatile as these twins, and have prepared a version of it for four players, with extra ad lib. passages for the flute and violin so that they should not become bored by long waits. In this edition both versions are combined, with the additional parts in brackets, and in small type in the score.