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View Full Version : Beethoven -- Guitar and Organ?


euphony131
02-12-2001, 05:57 AM
I'm curious -- Beethoven apparently wrote nothing for either the guitar or organ. I always assumed it was because he didn't think in those terms. Still, it's interesting to think what he would've done.

I noticed on another site an actual complaint about B. never composing for guitar. I'm not complaining -- not by a long shot; just curious. Can anyone conjecture as to why B. never composed for these instruments? And has anyone ever heard B. transcriptions performed on either guitar or organ. How did it sound?

I myself have never been a big fan of classical guitar (with the exception of maybe a few Vivaldi pieces which I believe were actually for lute); most of it seems to be Spanish style anyway. But I'm sure B. would've found a way to make it RIP! http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/smile.gif

Peter
02-12-2001, 10:16 AM
I think the main reason for this is the Piano - you have to remember that the piano was a very new instrument (Christofori had developed it in 1709, but few composers wrote seriously for it prior to the 1760's).
Composers such as Mozart and Beethoven (who were both virtuoso performers) wrote their Concertos, primarily for themselves to perform. The Organ was probably considered very old fashioned and would have had little commercial appeal. Another gap in B's ouevre is (apart from a handful of early works) with wind instruments.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
02-12-2001, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by euphony131:
I'm curious -- Beethoven apparently wrote nothing for either the guitar or organ.


B did write some preludes that I think he gave the option of performance on the organ. Regarding the guitar - well, it was in fact the mandolin which was very popular instrument of that nature at the time (at least around Vienna) and B wrote a few pieces for this instrument and piano.

Michael
02-12-2001, 07:31 PM
I once bought a CD called "The Complete Organ Music of Beethoven" and it was about an hour long. I have since found out that ten minutes would take care of B's genuine organ output (unless you count the counterpoint exercises). A lot of this CD was taken up by arrangements for organ of pieces that B wrote for a mechanical clock.
Regarding the guitar, there are no genuine works by B, but there is a work called a "Pot-Pourri", which is a medley of works by B arranged by Diabelli for guitar and flute. It begins with the slow opening of the Fourth Symphony and includes the Second Symphony, the Spring Sonata and the Pastorale Sonata among others. I don't know where it can be got as I only taped it off the radio.

Michael

Joy
02-12-2001, 10:43 PM
I once heard The Pathetique played on guitar.
(the second movement only, "More That Love")
and I thought it was quite pretty indeed. But, like Michael, I only heard it on radio.

Michael
02-13-2001, 01:14 AM
I heard the same movement, Joy, played on an accordion, again on the radio. I was totally confused for a minute before I could recognise it. The music sounded so completely different; maybe it's a good idea to hear over-familiar pieces played on a strange instrument now and then.

Michael

euphony131
02-13-2001, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
-- it was in fact the mandolin which was very popular instrument of that nature at the time (at least around Vienna) and B wrote a few pieces for this instrument and piano.

Rod,

Do you have any Opus or WoO #'s for these guitar and piano works? I had no idea! I'll have to scour my DG Complete Beethoven Edition tonite.

Michael
02-13-2001, 02:56 AM
Originally posted by euphony131:
Rod,

Do you have any Opus or WoO #'s for these guitar and piano works? I had no idea! I'll have to scour my DG Complete Beethoven Edition tonite.

Without wishing to jump the gun on Rod, I can tell you that the four pieces for mandolin and piano are in Volume 14, Disc No 3 of the Complete Beethoven Edition.
These four very attractive pieces are also available with harpsichord accompaniment instead of piano, on an obscure Turnabout CD called "Beethoven's Chamber Music for Flute"
(sic!)

Michael

Rod
02-13-2001, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by euphony131:
Rod,

Do you have any Opus or WoO #'s for these guitar and piano works? I had no idea! I'll have to scour my DG Complete Beethoven Edition tonite.

They are as follows, for MANDOLINE and piano, all from 1796:

WoO43a - sonatina
WoO43b - adagio
WoO44a - sonatina
WoO44b - variations

I've got an authentic recording on Amon Ra label.

While I'm here the only dedicated organ works I could find are the preludes I mentioned (op39 for organ or piano) and a fugue for organ WoO31.


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

PDG
02-21-2001, 10:00 PM
Originally posted by Joy:
I once heard The Pathetique played on guitar.
(the second movement only, "More That Love")
and I thought it was quite pretty indeed. But, like Michael, I only heard it on radio.

Hello Joy,

Billy Joel (a classically trained piano man) unashamedly stole the adagio of the Pathetique for the chorus of his song, This Night, on his album, An Innocent Man. He does namecheck our hero on the sleeve, but annoyingly, whenever I listen to the sonata, it is difficult to not also hear Mr. Joel singing along, in my mind`s ear!

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Peter (PDG)