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Michael
09-27-2000, 08:56 PM
Any ideas on which work could be described as Beethoven's First Masterpiece?
My own choice would be the set of variations on Righini's "Venni amore" WoO65. Written in 1791, it is an utterly amazing work, 24 variations, the whole lasting nearly half an hour. The tune is one of those skeletal themes that suited B so well. The scope and variety in this work is unbelievable and the second-last variation could have come from his final years.
For a long time, the earliest known edition of this work was from 1802 - and all the experts believed that B must have revised the work since 1791, so mature was it. Then the original edition surfaced and it proved everybody wrong because there were no changes at all!
I would go so far as to say that B's piano variations didn't reach this high level again until the Eroica variations and Opus 34.
Michael

Peter
09-28-2000, 12:10 AM
Well for me the first major work that stands out is the Cantata on the Death of Joseph ll - so much of the music is prophetic, and it really is incredibly mature music for a 19yr old.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-28-2000, 12:14 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
Any ideas on which work could be described as Beethoven's First Masterpiece?
My own choice would be the set of variations on Righini's "Venni amore" WoO65. Written in 1791, it is an utterly amazing work, 24 variations, the whole lasting nearly half an hour. The tune is one of those skeletal themes that suited B so well. The scope and variety in this work is unbelievable and the second-last variation could have come from his final years.
For a long time, the earliest known edition of this work was from 1802 - and all the experts believed that B must have revised the work since 1791, so mature was it. Then the original edition surfaced and it proved everybody wrong because there were no changes at all!
I would go so far as to say that B's piano variations didn't reach this high level again until the Eroica variations and Opus 34.
Michael

While I agree that these variations are absolutely first rate (yet rarely played or recorded), in the past have suggested, as Peter has said, that the Joseph/Leopold (for they are really one continuous composition in my mind) cantatas were B's first masterpiece. If you are one of those who consider juvenile works to potentially be those of a 'master' (I am not so sure on this issue), then the 3 piano quartets WoO36 of 1785 could also be considered, such is the quality and maturity found in these compositions.

Rod


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

Michael
09-28-2000, 08:29 PM
Yeah, I agree with you both - the Joseph Cantatas are another likely candidate. As regards the piano quartets, WoO 36, I don't know if they would qualify as masterpieces, but they are simply gorgeous music, whatever you think of them, even though the opening of No. 1 in E flat is adapted from Mozart's violin sonata in G, K379. I think B improves on the maturer composer but then I'm hopelessly prejudiced and likely to be contradicted by any musical expert.
Michael

Rod
09-29-2000, 12:05 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
...I think B improves on the maturer composer but then I'm hopelessly prejudiced and likely to be contradicted by any musical expert.
Michael

Since when should you be worried about the opinions of these 'experts'!!

Rod

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