Lost since more than 80 years
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van
1 f., 23 x 32 cm, brown ink, laid music paper of 16 staves per page, "crescent moon" watermark (some sm. marg. ink spots, irregular tear with paper loss at the top not affecting the handwriting).
In March 1796, the Vienna publishing house Artaria & Cie, founded in 1770, edited "Trois sonates pour le Clavecin ou Piano-forte [...]" by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), being his first 3 sonata's. They were dedicated to Joseph Haydn, "Kapellmeister" of the Prince Esterhazy, with whom Beethoven studied from November 1792 till January 1794.
The original final autograph manuscript versions of these sonatas were never found and only a few loose drafts are known. Some of them were published as those of the 1st and 4th movement of the 1st Sonata by the French musicologist J.-G. Prod'homme in 1937 and listed by Dorfmüller, Gertsch and Ronge in 2014. The draft of the 1st movement now belongs to the prestigious collection of the "Museum der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde" in Wien, but since 1937 any trace of the draft of the 4th movement was lost until now, showing up at our auction.
We find Beethoven's original handwriting, as often in his hurried style and without key, on 13 (of 16) staves on 1 side, and a few rythmic figures on the other. Paper with watermark figuring the smallest of a series of 3 crescents and the bottom of the largest one (watermark partly lost with tear at the top), as in other autograph music sheets by the Master. In the lower margin, by another hand, the following citation: "4. Satz aus der Beethoven'schen Sonate op. 2 N° 1 ihm Jahre 1796 bei Artaria erschienen".
A fleetingly penned compositional sketch in which triplet groups in the left hand and some chord notes and octaves in the right hand stand out. A number of bars, especially in the middle, are limited to a melodic line in the right hand but without harmonic underpinning. The tempo given is "presto", that in contrast to all later editions which indicate "prestissimo."
A comparison of this sketch with the final version, which has been published and performed numerous times, provides a surprising insight into the genesis of a fresh, youthful work by our Romantic Master.
Ref. Prod'homme, J.-G. - Les Sonates pour piano de Beethoven, Paris, 1937, pp. 36-42. - Dorfmüller, K., Gertsch, N., Ronge, J. a.o. - Ludwig van Beethoven. Thematisch-bibliographishes Werkverzeichnis. München, 2014, vol 1, pp. 11-13 ("Heute nicht mehr nachweisbares Blatt aus der Besitz des belgischen Sammler Tonnelier").
Prov. Lucien Tonnelier (1860-1932), lawyer and musician who often accompanied Elisabeth, Queen of the Belgians, on piano and gave also piano lessons to her daughter Princess Marie-Josée. - By descent to the present owner.
We thank M. Gilbert Huybens for his kind help in preparing this entry.
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