The present work features a kind of pentatonic
music that is often associated with a far eastern landscape. However, it has no genuine compositional connection with Asian music. In this piece pentatonicism is conducive to frictionless intervals and transparency of sound; these are produced in an ideal manner on stringed instruments by means of natural harmonics. The contrasting central section brings dense textures and sharp dissonance, which sound with full intensity and combine with portamento to produce extreme emotional expression and narrative gestures.
The nature-inspired imagination displayed in this composition is clearly audible. A poetic rustling effect conjuring up natural sounds is achieved on the stringed instruments by using special performance techniques.
As the title Variationen indicates, the music consists of reworkings of a germinal melody, which remains, however, completely hidden in the background and only after undergoing various characteristic transformations emerges imperceptibly in the cello part at the end. So although it runs like a red thread through the whole length of the piece, its perception by the listener remains at an unconscious level.