Adagio e tema con variazioni

Adagio e tema con variazioni

Adagio e tema con variazioni

Alessandro Rolla

Isabel Charisius's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy English Music sheet annotated by  Isabel Charisius  is available 41 min Viola

In this viola masterclass, Isabel Charisius and Gatien Leray work on pacing, bowing, and more.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About this masterclass

In this masterclass, Isabel Charisius and student Gatien Leray discuss the method of an inaudible shift of the bow at different tempos. These techniques are studied along with the importance of developing principles of performing techniques within the confines of a specific style.

Several insightful points are touched upon in the masterclass in an eye-opening fashion. Charisius’s assessments are a beautiful example of how several minor changes in the performance can paint a different picture and convey a completely different emotion.

Many helpful points, such as fine-vibrato movements and sound quality to tempo correlation, can be found in this masterclass.

What we learn in this masterclass 

  1. Hand positioning.

  2. Developing motor skills.

  3. Committing to dedicated practice.

  4. Being 'emotionally focused'.

  5. Pacing.

Adagio e tema con variazioni by Alessandro Rolla

Adagio e tema con variazioni is one of Alessandro Rolla’s many works for viola and orchestra. Though in modern times, the composer is best known as Paganini’s teacher, Rolla also made several significant contributions to the development of viola pedagogy and technique. Written during the Classical period, this piece is in two sections, an opening Adagio followed by a lilting theme and set of variations. Though the melodic material is operatic in character, it quickly develops into technically demanding material, requiring a variety of difficult techniques including double stops, left-hand pizzicato, rapid scales, and frequent shifts between positions. This kind of virtuosity had rarely been required on viola prior to Rolla’s works, which opened the door for further exploration of the instrument's capabilities. 

  • Date:16 February 2021
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:41 min
  • Spoken language:English

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this viola masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Isabel Charisius’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music adagio e tema con variazioni

Isabel Charisius

Isabel Charisius

The prize winners were selected by a jury comprising (Alban Berg Quartet), 1983 to mark the 50th anniversary of Banff Centre.

Isabel Charisius is one of the finest violists and chamber musicians of her generation. As a member of the legendary Alban Berg Quartet, and a regular soloist with leading orchestras, Charisius has appeared regularly at the most prestigious venues in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

She enjoys working in projects with distinguished string quartets, various ensembles and many renowned soloists in international venues. She is frequently invited as a jury member to prestigious international competitions.

For many years, Charisius has been dedicated to developing the journeys of new generations of musicians. She is an internationally recognized teacher of viola and chamber music. Her prolific teaching activity at the Universities of Cologne and Lucerne as well as a wide range of masterclasses at some of the most prestigious institutions, has produced a large community of alumni. Her students can be found among the winners of international competitions, and many of them are members of the world’s finest ensembles and orchestras.

Isabel Charisius plays the extraordinary viola «ABQ» by Laurentius Storioni (1780).


Alessandro  Rolla

Alessandro Rolla was a composer, violinist, teacher, and conductor of the Classical era. He was born in Pavia, Italy in 1757, only one year after Mozart, and died in 1841, at the age of 84, in Milan where he lived most of his life. He worked for several orchestras as a viola and violin player. Later, he became the leader and orchestra conductor at the famous Scala in Milan, and performed many famous works by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. Rolla is also famous for being Niccolò Paganini’s professor, teaching him many virtuoso techniques that are still studied today by musicians and composers.  

Rolla lived the high life in Milan, mixing with many artists of that time. He left behind a large repertoire of more than 500 works, among them the famous Concertino for viola and strings in E flat major, which has been recorded and performed many times and is still widely available today.  

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