Beethoven Sketch Books by By J. S. Shedlock, B.A. On Musical Time (1892 – 1895)

III) – MUSICAL TIME August 1, 1892


 By J. S. Shedlock, B.A.

 (Continue from p. 397.)


Of the pianoforte sketches, those of the two Sonatas in G minor and G major (Op. 49, Noa. 1 and 2) will be first mentioned, for though they bear a somewhat late opus number, and were not publiahcd umil the year 1805, they are supposed to have been written at an early period, possibly at Bonn (see Thayer, VoL 1., p. 234). On p. 41 of our Notirungsbuch we meet wi.h—

a passage very similar to the major theme of the Rondo of the G minor Sonata, and this is immediate y repeated in the key of B major. Again, on p. 66 there are the first seven bars, of the first movement, with superscription Sonatine par L. v. Bthvn.  By the way, the half-sheet on which this is found contains other sketches, apparently written at a later period. There is one of the Rondo of the Sonate Pathetique (Op. 13), quoted by Nottebohm (Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 42), and also the following—

and it is marked Rondo mit (?) presto. This reminds one slightly of the principal theme of the Rondo of Op. 13, also of the passage in the Coda of the first movement of the C minor Pianoforte Concerto-—

Of the Sonata in G major (Op. 49 No. 2) there are. important sketches of both movements. These are of special interest, inasmuch as they show that Beethoven’s method of working—whether at a grand symphony or small sonata, or even an impromptu, as, for instance, the “Kleines Stück,”  given in Nottebohm’s Them. Verz.—was always the same:

he sketched, polished, and perfected. On the top of the first page of the sheet on which these sketches  are found are some bars of “ Ah Perfido” The two previous half sheets, consisting of similar music paper contain a sketch of “Ah I Perfido,” the Menuet and Trio from Sextet (Op. 71) and sketches possibly of Andante of Quintet (Op. 4). Beethoven composed “ Ah I Perfido” at Prague in 1796, and the Pianoforte Sonata, in G was probably written in the same year. The sketch of the first movement commences thus—

and, farther on—

which finally became—

The second subject appears first in this form –

and then—

but lower down on the same page it comes much nearer to the printed version form. The theme of the Tempo di Menuetto runs thus—

The C major section was first written-—

The Sonata in E flat (Op. 7), published in 1797, next commands attention. There are sketches of the third movement, and various phrases are mixed up in an apparently strange medley. The juxtaposition, however* of the few bars before the pause bar in the Allegro and of the concluding bars of the first section of the Trio, is perhaps not without significance. They appear thus—

One has only to turn the second and third crotchets in eacn bar of the second illustration into otie note, and then tie the minim thus formed to the following; crotchet, in order to see the close re­lationship between the two passages. There are three etfempts at the         of the Allegro. First – (and then)

The printed version is again different and a great improvement; end from a sketch of it, evidently found only after much tribulation and scratching  out. Another sketch shows Beethoven’s method of widening out his themes –

Of this development, however, he made no use. Nottebohm has given a long and interesting sketch of the development section of the first movement of the Sonata in F (Op. 10, No. 2), which begins as follows—

and here is the form in which it first appears—

In this shape, it certainly brings to mind a well known passage in the first movement of the C minor Symphony—

We now give some sketches not quoted by Nottebohm: the first is, evidently, preparatory work for the Allegretto

and this for the Trio—

We seem next to have, apparently, a first attempt at the Finale theme—

The following also refers to the same movement—

Of the Sonata in D (Op. id, No. 3), Nottebohm has given (Zweite Beethoveniana, p., 35) a long sketch of the first movement, but not—

which seems to be a foreshadowing and forelengthening of:

The sketch, given by Nottebohm, is in pencil, but the above semibreve notes, near the bottom of the page, are in ink. Nottebohm Also prints a second sketch (p. 37), but not the following, in our Notirungsbuch –

The ascending notes at the beginning refer to the passage in the recapitulation section leading up to the theme in E minor (printed version); in the sketch, however, thlfe theme is indicated first in B minor (as In the exposition section), and then written out in the key of F sharp minor, as if the composer were trying experiments. This theme is to be found in Nottebohm’s second sketch (Zweite Beethoveniana, p. 37), bat there it is connected with the exposition section. The second sketch of the Largo given by Nottebohm (p. 38) is sootf followed by—

Apparently another Coda scheme, different from the printed one. On this page, (last line) we find, all by itself –

What does this indicate ? To say that it is evolved from the theme qf the Largo is perhaps somewhat hazardous, and yet the two are so near to each other in the sketch book one can scarcely help placing this—

side by side with—

Compare also this Finale figure with the semitone progressions in above Largo sketch (bars 5 and 6). There are other links of a similar kind in this Sonata. Let the reader compare the first two notes of the Allegro and the Largo; and again—

the opening of the Allegro with —

Other instances could be mentioned. Of the third movement Nottebohm has given an interesting sketch (from sheet 156), but his quotation of the sketch of the Coda may be given at greater length—

Of the Trio to the third movement we find, among miscellaneous sketches, the following—

but the music is here evidently in the key of A flat. This and the next sketch, though in a different part of the Notirungsbuch, are on the same sort of paper as that on which above-mentioned sketches are written.

Is not the following, on the same page, a first presentation of the third bar of the Finale?—

Of the Finale there are brief sketches of two or three passages, from which it may be seen that the movement was only gradually evolved. Sketches of the Sonata in E (Op. 14, No. 1) are to be found in this, volume, and also on sheets in the Royal Library at Berlin. The long sketch of the exposition section given by Nottebohm (Zweite Beet hoveniana, pp. 48-49) is to be found on sheet 121, and the other long and complete sketch of the recapitulation section in Nottebohm (pp. 53-55) is to be found on the second page of same sheet. Beethoven was at work on the B flat Pianoforte Concerto while sketching this Sonata. Accordingly, on sheets marked 64 and 65, and containing long sketches of the Rondo of the B flat Concerto, we find early traces of this Sonata. The following (the passage leading to the second subject of the first movement)—

gives a good idea of a short Beethoven sketch. The theme of the Rondo appears in this form—

And later on we have the concluding bars of the same movement. Beethoven as our Readers will notice in other places, seemed to see to the end of his movements while as yet the beginnig was in an embryonic stage: –

The bold C natural does not appear in the final version. Of the important sketches on sheets 121 and 122, and of which, as stated, Nottebohm has quoted so much, only the following need be added. In the first movement Beethoven had the idea of developing the quaver figure of the second subject, for we find—

to be read most probably in bass clef. In conclusion, we would give a brief but interesting opening of a Sonata movement which, so far as is known, was never completed: it illustrates Beet­hoven’s plan of sketching—

and in connection with the Sonatas, the following, amongst various sketches on an old sheet belonging, according to Nottebohm, to the Bonn period deserves notice. The “Moonlight” Sonata, of witch we have here something more than a foreshadowing, was not published until the year 1802 –

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