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Serge
10-26-2000, 08:50 PM
I've always been curious why Beethoven never wrote much for the organ, esp. since he knew how to play it as a kid. Did he find it too challenging? Not challenging enough? The only piece for organ by Beethoven I can remember is some obscure WoO, but there must be more.

Peter
10-27-2000, 11:11 AM
Well there could be a number of reasons - firstly I would suggest that B was not a typical church goer and certainly not devout as was J.S.Bach (who was of course employed by the church, and thus expected to provide vast quantities of organ music). Neither was B the organ virtuoso that Bach had been (it's hard to imagine B's feet whizzing all over the place! - we know he had problems dancing! ). Also when B first came to Vienna, it was as a pianist rather than a composer that he was known, and it is only natural that he should wish to compose primarily for that instrument in order to show off his abilities. Perhaps B even considered the Organ as an old-fashioned instrument and that there was no more to say on it after Bach.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
10-27-2000, 12:19 PM
I have read that Beethoven thought the organ was the 'king of instruments' and that he respected organ virtuosos more than any other. As to why B didn't write much organ music, in addition to the reasons stated above, I also suggest commercial reasons - ie there was little market for such compositions, either form the music buying public or B's aritocratic patrons. If B had received a good commission he may have produced something more in this genre. Bear in mind the fact that many of B's greatest works have come to us solely as the result of commissions.

Rod

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

Roehre
11-15-2009, 02:14 PM
I've always been curious why Beethoven never wrote much for the organ, esp. since he knew how to play it as a kid. Did he find it too challenging? Not challenging enough? The only piece for organ by Beethoven I can remember is some obscure WoO, but there must be more.

There exists a Koch-Schwann CD (Koch 3.1609.2) with a Fuga in d-minor, a
Fugenkreis über Themen von J.S.Bach, Prelude opus 39 no.1, 3 pieces for musical clock from WoO 33 as well as a trio(-sonata) in e minor.

Michael
11-15-2009, 03:51 PM
There exists a Koch-Schwann CD (Koch 3.1609.2) with a Fuga in d-minor, a
Fugenkreis über Themen von J.S.Bach, Prelude opus 39 no.1, 3 pieces for musical clock from WoO 33 as well as a trio(-sonata) in e minor.

Yes, I have that CD. It is called "The Complete Organ Works" of Beethoven and yet very little of its contents can genuinely be described as written for the organ. The others are arrangements of pieces written for mechanical clock (and two of those are missing) and a "Prelude in all Keys" which is also a piano piece (in fact he wrote two preludes in all keys, but this so-called "complete" set omits one of them).
It does contain about half a dozen short fugues on themes by J S Bach but these were just exercises.
A better selection is included in the DGG Complete Beethoven, but, really, Beethoven's music for the organ in negligible.

Roehre
11-15-2009, 04:31 PM
Apart from the fuge WoO 31 (in the DGG edition) and the organ part in the Missa solemnis only some of the Albrechtsberger studies are other works for this Queen of instruments I'm afraid.
Just a couple of these studies (most performed on a piano) can be found on a Raptus record, some -others- orchestrated by Brott on an Everest one.
And I'm afraid that's it :( .

Chris
11-15-2009, 05:18 PM
I have this disc:

http://www.amazon.com/Fl%C3%B6tenuhr-Ludwig-van-Beethoven/dp/B0000016JM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258304869&sr=1-1

It contains basically the entire solo "organ" pieces of Beethoven and Haydn, who also did not really compose music for organ. I found it interesting, though.

Anyway, to respond to Peter's very old reply that part of the reason Beethoven did not compose organ music was that he was not a devout church-goer, I would have to disagree. Haydn certainly was, and he didn't really compose for the organ either, except for some bits in his masses. I think the organ just went "out of style", partly because the organ did not fit the Classical style very well, with its more homophonic textures and often simpler harmonies. This thought occurred to me this week as I was trying to arrange a very simple hymn for the organ to use at mass this Sunday. There wasn't enough harmonic movement to make anything happen, and aside from adding a really bouncy bass line on the pedals (which I do not care for, and am not yet proficient enough with the pedals to be confident in), there was really nothing to do be done. In the end, my teacher advised me to simply play it on the piano, which is what he himself was going to do. I did, and it was for the best.

Roehre
11-15-2009, 05:25 PM
I have this disc:

http://www.amazon.com/Fl%C3%B6tenuhr-Ludwig-van-Beethoven/dp/B0000016JM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258304869&sr=1-1

It contains basically the entire solo "organ" pieces of Beethoven and Haydn, who also did not really compose music for organ. I found it interesting, though.

Anyway, to respond to Peter's very old reply that part of the reason Beethoven did not compose organ music was that he was not a devout church-goer, I would have to disagree. Haydn certainly was, and he didn't really compose for the organ either, except for some bits in his masses. I think the organ just went "out of style", partly because the organ did not fit the Classical style very well, with its more homophonic textures and often simpler harmonies. .....

chris, that's a nice suggestion. To be honest I never thought about the "why", but this would explain nicely as well why we don't have any major organ works by Wolfgang Mozart either (we do have some Leopold IIRC).