I'm offering a work in progress here - this is VERY incomplete. The theme is based on the same Beethoven sketch on which Gerd recently wrote his wonderful Variations. Not to imitate - or detract from - Gerd's work, I wanted to take a different approach, to try to imagine what Beethoven might have done with the theme. My first impression was that the sketch would probably not have been the first 8 bars of a theme, but rather the last. So I tried to compose an appropriate beginning, and ended up making it into a ternary form with the first 8 bars a much more restrained variant of the Beethoven sketch, repeated, then 8 contrasting bars in the relative minor, and then finally a fully harmonized version of the sketch as written... all for string quartet, of course.
Then I started out last night to write variations... and finished the first variation this evening. The rendition is of the theme itself and that first variation - nothing more exists at the moment, and I feel the need to take a breather. I thought I would share what I've done so far and ask what everyone thinks of it. This is light years away from my usual idiom - I've never tried to do anything like this before - but I experienced intense joy along the way finding "inspiration in discipline". This first variation is extremely formal and mostly adheres to the harmonic structure of the theme. So there is almost no personal expression in it - it is severely objective and Classical. Maybe I'll loosen up later on, if I get that far with it.
Anyway, have a listen if you will. All comments are welcome, both positive and negative. If people who work in this idiom all the time think it doesn't work then I'd like to know that now! I'm very much a fish out of water with this.