The story of the origins of the Variations, Op. 21 is typical on the whole for the evolution of a composition by Brahms from inception to printing status. Brahms wrote the pieces in 1853/54 (Variations on a Hungarian Song) and 1857 (Variations on an Original Theme). Then he sought the advice of his friend Joseph Joachim, who suggested that Brahms put the Hungarian Variations aside "for a while." It was not until July 1861 -- and perhaps after comprehensive revisions -- that Brahms sent both variation cycles to his publisher Simrock.