As for the key, we know it must be minor.
B minor, then, as having passed for noble
On one or two occasions. As for the theme,
There being but the one, with variations,
Let it be spoken outright by the oboe
Without apology of any string,
But as a man speaks, openly, his heart
Among old friends, let this be spoken.
The major resolutions of the minor,
Johann's great signature, would be too noble.
It would do certain violence to our theme.
Therefore see to it that the variations
Keep faith with the plain statement of the oboe.
Entering quietly, let each chastened string
Repeat the lesson she must get by heart,
And without overmuch adornment.
by Donald Justice, from "The Summer Anniversaries" (1960)