Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor (WoO 80) for piano, dating from 1806, are both a magnificent concert piece and an outstanding etude. Only with Beethoven can an eight-measure theme contain so much melodic and harmonic energy. The variations, of eight measures each, flow into one another powerfully and without interruption, offering a veritable compendium of Beethoven’s piano technique. The effect is of a mighty passacaglia. With the more lengthy final variation the work fades to a close.