“Variation as Thematic Actualisation: The Case of Brahms’s Opus 9.” Music Analysis 31, no. 1 (2012): 37–89.
In many sets, the titular one included, variations do not primarily decorate their theme but rather expose dimensions of it that might otherwise remain latent. In this sense, such variations effectively define the theme, in retrospect.
“Variation as Thematic Actualisation: The Case of Brahms’s Opus 9” (2012).