Variationen über eine Wiener Heurigenmelodie (Variations on a Viennese 'Heurigen' Melody)
for violin, cello and piano, Opus 9, (1914)

Duration: 8''
Publisher: Simrock (1921), now Boosey & Hawkes
Available from Boosey&Hawkes: in print (M221110718)


Gál wrote of the origin of the work:
"Over half a century ago, a hunchbacked extemporising singer by the name of Ungrad haunted the popular wine-houses of the Viennese suburbs. If you secretly slipped him a consideration with the necessary information he would improvise humorous and not necessarily polite verses to the melody of these variations, whose object was some lady or other, and such fun-poking attentions were generally not resented. The present piece was written on the day after such an occasion, as a penitential tribute to the victim. This was in 1914, between the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia and the outbreak of the First World War, and it is documentary evidence that the youth of the time greatly underestimated the seriousness of the situation. I have unfortunately forgotten the poems of the extemporising poet; but in any case they would probably have been unprintable."

The work was not published until after the First World War, when it was extremely popular. As one critic remarked:
"Hans Gál's 'Variations on a Viennese Heurigen Melody' are completely carefree, real Viennese folk-music. This is the Viennese Schubert, this is Austria with its love of song and its joy in music, seeking and finding expression in heightened fashion in the 'Heurigen'." [Breslauer Zeitung, 15.1.1925]

Or again:
"The novelty of the evening: 'Variations on a Viennese Heurigen Melody' proved to be a splendid thing. Hans Gál has scored a hit." [Die Tonkunst, Berlin. 1.12.1925]
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