This piece consists of a theme and five variations, labeled A through E, and they have a recurring order: ABACDAE. each variation is separated by double bars, which helps to identify them as sectional variations.
The theme begins in measure 1 and lasts until measure 15 where variation A settles in. the quarter note melody begins in the flute and clarinet. it an obscure, eerie melody and the eighth note pulse gets the metronome marking of 92, so it is fairly slow. the melody is passed on through the other voices (bassoon, trumpet, and trombone), but the accompaniment always consists of offbeat eighth notes.
in the first variation (A), the clarinets, bassons, and trumpets have a quick scalar passage while the trombones continue the first melody. the tempo has increased, and the music generates an intense feeling. the light accompaniment continues, as well.
in variation B, the theme briefly disappears, but later prevails and is also embellished. this is a melodic elaboration, or an ornamental variation. there is also change in texture and dynamics at the start of this variation.
variation A repeats, and then turns to variation C (which is the last one in the burkhart), which again, keeps a constant eighth note accompaniment in the brass. the flutes, clarinets and bassoons keep the melody. at the beginning of this variation, there is a change from simple to compound meter.
each of these variations differ from the next (obviously...) but each still contains similar melodic and harmonic content.