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SCHUBERT'S SECOND VARIATION ON

"TROCKNE BLUMEN"
by

JOHN WION
Sooner or later most flutists become aware that the second variation of
Schubert's Introduction and Variations on his song from the "Mullerliedern"
(Opus 160, D.802) contains, in its E major section, only seven bars,
whereas the theme and the other variations have eight.
In the Major section of the theme, the first two bars are harmonically
identical, as are the third and fourth bars, and the fifth and sixth.
These fifth and sixth bars have on their first quarter a diminished seventh
chord over an A#, and on their second quarter an E major chord over a B.
In bar seven, the second quarter is the same E chord, but the first quarter is
a C# minor chord in root position.
In Variation 2, it is this seventh bar which has been elided. Some editions
print the phrase as Schubert wrote it, without comment, and some editions
indicate a repeat of bar six, or of the second quarter note of six and the first
quarter note of seven. Some editions add the "missing" bar without
comment.
What I have been able to read on the subject suggests that scholars are
undecided on the question of whether the elision was intentional or the
result of some distraction. I have not found a scholarly discussion of the
subject that might offer other instances where Schubert similarly condensed
a regularly metered phrase.
In coming to grips with this question for my own satisfaction as a performer
and teacher, I decided to create a version that fills in the missing material,
but, having done so, I had to wonder why Schubert would not have
corrected his manuscript similarly if he was unhappy with it.
If you compare my version with an Urtext edition based on Schubert's
manuscript, you will see that, harmonically and melodically, the missing
material is the second quarter note of bar six and the first quarter note of
bar seven, not a simple omission of a bar. A further indication of Schubert's
deliberate intent is that the flute trill in measure four his original is not
resolved on the following downbeat, which is a quarter note rest.
I would think that in writing out this variation Schubert would have started by
putting down the piano left hand, which is its focus. Perhaps one can argue

that some distraction led him to leave out two beats. Having made this slip,
the exigencies of time, or the cost of paper, or a touch of humor, then
moved him to adjust the rest of the material accordingly - and, having done
so, he rather liked the results.
I hope that you will take the time to compare the two versions and think
about them. If you decide you prefer the symmetry of the eight bar phrase,
you could cut it out and tape it into your own music.

Flute Part

Piano Part (final 6 measures only)