This set of variations was composed in the fall of 2008. I had been listening to Zurab Sotkilava's folk song album on repeat and got the Russian folk song "Troika" stuck in my head. One day I started improvising on this folk tune while in a practice room. Then I wrote some ideas down. Much of the inspiration for this set came from having just played Strauss's Ein Heldenleben with the Cleveland Institute orchestra. You can hear Strauss's musical language permeating through the piece. The final variation is in 5/8, bringing the variations to an exciting end.