In 1841, when he was at the height of his art, Mendelssohn successively wrote three cycles of piano variations, the first of which, "Serious Variations" op. 54, is probably to be considered his most significant piano work. This cycle was part of a collection of works by renowned contemporary composers whose profits were intended to erect a memorial in Bonn in memory of Beethoven. At that time, the so-called brilliant piano variations were truly mass produced. Mendelssohn titled his seventeen variations in D minor op. 54 "Serious variations" in order to stand out. Magnificent, their main theme is indeed of a serious and tormented character and is maintained through all the changes.