Theme & Variations


Theme & Variations introduces a new topic each week, presenting a wide range of music associated with that theme. Drawn from a millennium of Western classical music, the selections are an eclectic mix of familiar favorites and rarities. Theme and Variations is produced locally in Discover Classical's studios by host Joe Law.


This week’s program returns to the musical form it is named for, bringing you six sets of variations on operatic themes—along with the operatic music they’re based on. The themes come from operas by Vincenzo Bellini, Christoph Willibald von Gluck, W. A. Mozart, Gioachino Rossini, Richard Wagner and Carl Maria von Weber. The variations are by William Bergsma, Frederic Chopin, Emilia Giuliani-Guglielmi, Friedrich Kuhlau, W. A. Mozart and Nicolo Paganini.



This week you’re invited to travel back three centuries for music composed, premiered, or published in 1724. The composers represented are Attilio Ariosti, J. S. Bach, Francesco Barsanti, François Couperin, G. F. Handel, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Antonio Vivaldi and Jan Dismas Zelenka.



Serge Diaghilev commissioned some remarkable music for the Ballets Russes. This week’s program brings you complete ballet scores by three of the French composers he engaged: Francis Poulenc, Maurice Ravel and Henri Sauguet.