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Old 09-28-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
Megan
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Lost Beethoven work

In the news.

Lost Beethoven work to be aired.

A "lost" Beethoven movement is to be performed for the first time in more than 200 years, after being pieced together from early drafts.

Beethoven wrote the slow movement for his string quartet Opus 18 Number Two in 1799 before discarding it and composing another version a year later.

The original has not survived, but has now been reconstructed by Professor Brian Cooper of Manchester University.

He has reassembled the surviving sketches, filling in any gaps himself.


read more.......

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15073541
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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I think the BBC mean Barry Cooper - he of the 10th symphony! I know a lot of people find these things fascinating but if Beethoven discarded it and produced the wonderful slow movement we have, why bother? Purely an academic exercise.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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Here's The Guardian's take on Megan's BBC posting above. It offers a bit more detail, that's all.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011...vered-premiere
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:28 AM   #4
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Here is a comment from one reader of the Guardian article above :

I will of course listen to the 'new' piece with great interest, but I have reservations about putting bits together to form a new work from a master who rejected it at the time. Sketches should remain as sketches. Beethoven we are told was a perfectionist. He clearly did not think this work was up to the mark and was not what he would have wanted published. It is of academic interest but that should be the end of it.

We would not take rough sketches and create an oil painting from one of the masters; so we should not do so in music.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:29 AM   #5
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I think the BBC mean Barry Cooper - he of the 10th symphony! I know a lot of people find these things fascinating but if Beethoven discarded it and produced the wonderful slow movement we have, why bother? Purely an academic exercise.
In the case of opus 18 it isn't an academic exercise, as it is only by accident that the earlier versions of the first three of these 6 quartets haven't survived completely but for the F-major quartet.

Opus 18/1 has survived completely in its earlier version, no.2 and 3 have partly so, but also have many sketches of these works, including -and that is essential here- some of the continuity drafts.
With the latter as point of departure it is only a matter of placing the right sketches or passages from the published works or surviving parts on top of this continuity draft - more a solvable jigsaw puzzle than a conjecture like the 10th symphony.

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Old 09-28-2011, 11:36 AM   #6
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Nice to see that standards within the BBC have dropped to a level that subtracting 1988 from 2011 equals 13..... as Cooper's "Tenth" dates from 1988.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:40 AM   #7
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Well, it is indeed of academic interest, and nobody is claiming otherwise. Personally, I am happy to hear play-throughs of sketches, even if they have been discarded. Simple intellectual curiosity. I can't see the harm, and why all the brouhaha?
However, if this is marketed as something it is not, then that is a different question.
The same has been going on for years with Bruckner's (incomplete) Finale to the Ninth Symphony. There are several performing versions (Carragan, Phillips, Cohrs [2010 !] ...) that attempt reconstruction, but I don't think anyone ever really loses sight of that reality : informed, intelligent, caring, musical speculation of the highest order. I see no harm.
In any case, if offered a chance to hear this reconstructed quartet movement by Cooper, I would say yes immediately.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
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In any case, if offered a chance to hear this reconstructed quartet movement by Cooper, I would say yes immediately.
So great enthusiasm for a discarded Beethoven work completed by an academic, yet what about the neglect of many pieces he did actually complete? Years ago on this site we ran a weekly 'rare Beethoven' page which revealed just how much fine music has been forgotten and is hardly ever performed.

The completion exercise reminds me of a critic who claimed people would praise a manuscript by Beethoven if he simply spilt ink all over it! No doubt we could have a far more interesting completion based on that from today's composers? How about the 'Blot quartet' reconstructed by Prof Brian or Barry Cooper?
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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So great enthusiasm for a discarded Beethoven work completed by an academic, yet what about the neglect of many pieces he did actually complete? Years ago on this site we ran a weekly 'rare Beethoven' page which revealed just how much fine music has been forgotten and is hardly ever performed.

The completion exercise reminds me of a critic who claimed people would praise a manuscript by Beethoven if he simply spilt ink all over it! No doubt we could have a far more interesting completion based on that from today's composers? How about the 'Blot quartet' reconstructed by Prof Brian or Barry Cooper?
Exactly, Peter. I cannot understand the fascination with bits and pieces when there are literally dozens of small (and even large) completed works by Beethoven which are hardly ever heard.
I admire Barry Cooper and am at present reading his Beethoven biography for the umpteenth time, but I wish he had left the 9th symphony sketches alone. He has also done some tinkering with the 2nd and 4th piano concertos - his theory being that B did not publish his last thoughts on these works. This is valid enough, I suppose, but you have to leave the last word (or note) with the composer.
This reminds me of the revised "War and Peace" which was published a few years back, based on an earlier draft by Tolstoy in which Prince Andrei did NOT die. What was the point?
(In case anybody drags up "Leonore" and "Fidelio", I think there is a valid case for reconstructing the earlier version(s) as the music exists in total and it was performed in Beethoven's time.)
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:05 PM   #10
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I admire Barry Cooper and am at present reading his Beethoven biography for the umpteenth time, but I wish he had left the 9th symphony sketches alone.

(In case anybody drags up "Leonore" and "Fidelio", I think there is a valid case for reconstructing the earlier version(s) as the music exists in total and it was performed in Beethoven's time.)
Never knew Cooper tinkered with sketches of the Ninth. I know that Wagner and Mahler defiitely did (with the finished score).

If the music for Leonore exists in total, there is hardly any need for reconstruction, I would have thought. A revival, perhaps.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:33 PM   #11
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I think there is a valid case for reconstructing the earlier version(s) as the music exists in total and it was performed in Beethoven's time.
and in case of opus 18/2 that is exactly what's done, as the original versions of the F, G and D quartets were performed before the revisions in preparation of the printed versions as we know these works now.

Cooper has edited the 2nd and 4th piano concertos' cadenzas and some of the solo parts as found in Beethoven's handwriting in printed material, but which were not published. That's all (and Mackerras has recorded them).
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:45 PM   #12
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I don't mind people experimenting with Beethoven's music because his music itself will always be. For instance, I like that Liszt made piano transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies.

The problem I do have is with the way it is presented. If they are going to call it a work by Beethoven then they should only play the parts that Beethoven put to notes. Then the title should be:

"This is not a complete Beethoven work, it is fragments of a complete Beethoven work. The parts that are not written by Beethoven are written by Barry Cooper."

Well, something to that effect.
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Old 10-01-2011, 09:15 AM   #13
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Here's a little extract from this reconstruction :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/vide...00-years-video
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:54 PM   #14
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Hmmm.
The allegro section does sound more interesting than the one in the quartet (which is one of my least favourite B movements) but how much of it is Cooper?
Beethoven composed a similar and much more melodic movement for the String Trio Opus 8.
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #15
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I have no idea what percentage is Baz Cooper; only a close look at the sketches and reconstructed score could tell me that.
What pleased me was to hear what the professor and the quartet's 1st violinist had to say about Cooper's effort : that nobody is attempting to supplant B's final word, but it can be treated as an appendix; further (in my own words), that it reveals compositional choices and is a highly interesting exercise in and for itself.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:37 PM   #16
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I have no idea what percentage is Baz Cooper; only a close look at the sketches and reconstructed score could tell me that.
What pleased me was to hear what the professor and the quartet's 1st violinist had to say about Cooper's effort : that nobody is attempting to supplant B's final word, but it can be treated as an appendix; further (in my own words), that it reveals compositional choices and is a highly interesting exercise in and for itself.
But wasn't B's final word to discard it? Therefore reconstructing is supplanting n'est-pas? Isn't this also one reason why Brahms destroyed his sketches and early works so he wouldn't be subjected to this academic tinkering? It's a pity we don't still have the sketches B made on the shutters at Baden for his late quartets - fascinating to see what Cooper could have done with the 'Window' quartet and we could have compared his effort with Beethoven's to see which was best!
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:32 PM   #17
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But wasn't B's final word to discard it? Therefore reconstructing is supplanting n'est-pas? Isn't this also one reason why Brahms destroyed his sketches and early works so he wouldn't be subjected to this academic tinkering? It's a pity we don't still have the sketches B made on the shutters at Baden for his late quartets - fascinating to see what Cooper could have done with the 'Window' quartet and we could have compared his effort with Beethoven's to see which was best!
Oh dear Headmaster, we are getting all hot under the collar, n'est pas? I post here a YouTube sketch which makes me think of you. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X3BJIAgkM8
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:55 PM   #18
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But wasn't B's final word to discard it? Therefore reconstructing is supplanting n'est-pas? Isn't this also one reason why Brahms destroyed his sketches and early works so he wouldn't be subjected to this academic tinkering? It's a pity we don't still have the sketches B made on the shutters at Baden for his late quartets - fascinating to see what Cooper could have done with the 'Window' quartet and we could have compared his effort with Beethoven's to see which was best!
Yes, Beethoven's final word was to supplant his original conception. The reconstruction is an (academic) exercise that remains fascinating, and I am curious to know why this does not excite a modicum of interest in you. If reconstructing the sketches throws light on Beethoven's compositional choices and thinking, where is the harm? And nobody is forcing you to listen to these reconstructions. It is all part and parcel of musical research, a very important intellectual activity.
And yes, I admit I would be curious to see B's jottings on the shutters of his Baden holiday home. Wouldn't you?
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:11 PM   #19
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Oh dear Headmaster, we are getting all hot under the collar, n'est pas? I post here a YouTube sketch which makes me think of you. Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X3BJIAgkM8
Great! - Thought you might have chosen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEuVv...eature=related
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Old 10-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #20
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Yes, Beethoven's final word was to supplant his original conception. The reconstruction is an (academic) exercise that remains fascinating, and I am curious to know why this does not excite a modicum of interest in you. If reconstructing the sketches throws light on Beethoven's compositional choices and thinking, where is the harm? And nobody is forcing you to listen to these reconstructions. It is all part and parcel of musical research, a very important intellectual activity.
And yes, I admit I would be curious to see B's jottings on the shutters of his Baden holiday home. Wouldn't you?
Didn't Nottebohm do this? How is a Cooper completion illuminating us anymore than that - I don't think for example that his 10th symphony realisation brings me any closer to what Beethoven would have actually written.

I'm curious why you're more fascinated by a reconstruction of a discarded Beethoven sketch than some of the many neglected Beethoven completed works which you may be unfamiliar with? How many of the following for example (out of many) are known to you?

Trio in G WoO.37
Duets for Piano and Mandolin WoO43/44
2 Preludes for fortepiano or Organ Op.39
March for piano duet Op.45 no.2
Duet from Leonore Hess 110 - 'Um in der Ehe froh zu leben'.
Tremate empi tremate Op.116
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
In questa tomba oscura Woo133
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Sonata for piano (4 hands) in C major Op6
Kenst du das Land Op75/1
8 Variations on Gretry's Air "Une fievre brulante" G.184
Rondo for Piano in C Major WoO48
7 variations for piano on 'Kind willst du ruhig schlafen'
from Winter's opera 'Das unterbrochene Opferfest' G186
Aria - Primo Amore WoO92
Trio for English horn & 2 oboes Op.87
Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet in C major, Hess 31.

I could go on, but I'd better not!!
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:47 PM   #21
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Didn't Nottebohm do this? How is a Cooper completion illuminating us anymore than that - I don't think for example that his 10th symphony realisation brings me any closer to what Beethoven would have actually written.

I'm curious why you're more fascinated by a reconstruction of a discarded Beethoven sketch than some of the many neglected Beethoven completed works which you may be unfamiliar with? How many of the following for example (out of many) are known to you?

Trio in G WoO.37
Duets for Piano and Mandolin WoO43/44
2 Preludes for fortepiano or Organ Op.39
March for piano duet Op.45 no.2
Duet from Leonore Hess 110 - 'Um in der Ehe froh zu leben'.
Tremate empi tremate Op.116
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
In questa tomba oscura Woo133
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Sonata for piano (4 hands) in C major Op6
Kenst du das Land Op75/1
8 Variations on Gretry's Air "Une fievre brulante" G.184
Rondo for Piano in C Major WoO48
7 variations for piano on 'Kind willst du ruhig schlafen'
from Winter's opera 'Das unterbrochene Opferfest' G186
Aria - Primo Amore WoO92
Trio for English horn & 2 oboes Op.87
Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet in C major, Hess 31.

I could go on, but I'd better not!!
Did Nottebohm attempt compositional reconstruction into performing versions of B's sketches? And what do rarely heard and neglected works by B tell us about his compositional choices? And clearly, Cooper's essay in giving us an aural spotlight on the "10th Symphony" sketches is nothing more than that. You prefer them (the sketches) to stay in the closet,then?
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:52 PM   #22
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And I'm sure that any art historian would not pass up on the chance of viewing rejected sketches by the masters. Why? Because it is interesting. I really don't see your problem here, Headmaster.
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #23
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And where did I write (or say) that I was more interested in the sketches than the less heard works you list above? You are projecting your own agenda, Headmaster.
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Old 10-03-2011, 04:06 PM   #24
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And a quick note to Baz Cooper (if ever he reads this forum) : keep it up!
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Old 10-03-2011, 06:59 PM   #25
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And where did I write (or say) that I was more interested in the sketches than the less heard works you list above? You are projecting your own agenda, Headmaster.
You didn't and I made that clear myself, but I simply wondered if you have as much interest in them as the Cooper?
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:02 PM   #26
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Did Nottebohm attempt compositional reconstruction into performing versions of B's sketches? And what do rarely heard and neglected works by B tell us about his compositional choices? And clearly, Cooper's essay in giving us an aural spotlight on the "10th Symphony" sketches is nothing more than that. You prefer them (the sketches) to stay in the closet,then?
Yes I think the '10th' would have been better not realised in the form it is presented in. Nottebohm's commentaries and scholarship do indeed provide valuable insight into Beethoven's compositional processes.
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:04 PM   #27
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And I'm sure that any art historian would not pass up on the chance of viewing rejected sketches by the masters. Why? Because it is interesting. I really don't see your problem here, Headmaster.
I have no problem with the sketches, they are indeed interesting - it is the completion of them or the realising of them into a work by someone other than the composer!
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:15 PM   #28
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As a listener, I admit, these completions can be tempting, especially when you have explored all the other works. But as a composer, I would be horrified if any such thing were made of my sketches, and I'm sure that I too would destroy any unused material.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:45 PM   #29
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As a listener, I admit, these completions can be tempting, especially when you have explored all the other works. But as a composer, I would be horrified if any such thing were made of my sketches, and I'm sure that I too would destroy any unused material.
That is very simply and elegantly put, Chris. But it is beside the point. The sketches are extant, and we have an unmissable opportunity to exploit them (with care, with respect). I am simply curious to hear what Beethoven originally intended and to try to understand why he later discarded it. For the so-called Baz Cooper/Beethoven "10th", I appreciate the opportunity to hear an informed but speculative realization of a "what may have been but probably never would be" symphonic sketch that was in a nebulous, embryonic state. I have never accepted that it is in any shape or form the first movement of "Beethoven's 10th".

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Old 10-04-2011, 07:47 AM   #30
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And where did I write (or say) that I was more interested in the sketches than the less heard works you list above? You are projecting your own agenda, Headmaster.
Can I take your silence to my previous response on this as confirmation of my 'agenda'? I suspect (and I will certainly eat humble pie if you say I'm wrong) that many of the pieces on that list (which itself is only a fraction of rarely performed B works) are unknown to you and that is why I'm irked by a sudden enthusiasm for a realisation of a discarded work.
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Old 10-04-2011, 02:57 PM   #31
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Didn't Nottebohm do this? How is a Cooper completion illuminating us anymore than that - I don't think for example that his 10th symphony realisation brings me any closer to what Beethoven would have actually written.

I'm curious why you're more fascinated by a reconstruction of a discarded Beethoven sketch than some of the many neglected Beethoven completed works which you may be unfamiliar with? How many of the following for example (out of many) are known to you?

Trio in G WoO.37
Duets for Piano and Mandolin WoO43/44
2 Preludes for fortepiano or Organ Op.39
March for piano duet Op.45 no.2
Duet from Leonore Hess 110 - 'Um in der Ehe froh zu leben'.
Tremate empi tremate Op.116
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Duet for Soprano, Tenor and Orchestra 'Ne'giorni tuoi felici' WoO93
In questa tomba oscura Woo133
Aria 'O welch ein leben!' WoO91/1
Sonata for piano (4 hands) in C major Op6
Kenst du das Land Op75/1
8 Variations on Gretry's Air "Une fievre brulante" G.184
Rondo for Piano in C Major WoO48
7 variations for piano on 'Kind willst du ruhig schlafen'
from Winter's opera 'Das unterbrochene Opferfest' G186
Aria - Primo Amore WoO92
Trio for English horn & 2 oboes Op.87
Prelude and Fugue for String Quartet in C major, Hess 31.

I could go on, but I'd better not!!

Good selection. To avoid cruelty to hobby horses, I will say no more.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:42 PM   #32
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Can I take your silence to my previous response on this as confirmation of my 'agenda'? I suspect (and I will certainly eat humble pie if you say I'm wrong) that many of the pieces on that list (which itself is only a fraction of rarely performed B works) are unknown to you and that is why I'm irked by a sudden enthusiasm for a realisation of a discarded work.
Many of them are indeed unknown to me (unlike the rarely played 'cello variations Op. 66, WoO 45/46, Piano variations WoO 78/79 God save the King / Rule Britannia). Still, the remaining lacunae in my Beethoven listening and/or playing repertoire do not dampen for one moment my enthusiasm for reconstructions of sketches. Do these rarely played/heard works thrown light on an actual work as does Cooper's latest essay? No, is the short answer. Yes, one should really try and hear the works you list. Yes, one should find it perfectly natural to find discarded sketches interesting. Why do you seek to conflate two separate points?
I recapitulate: though Beethoven discarded his first version of the Op 18 quartet movement in question, no amount of fretting on your or Michael's part will stop me taking an interest in them. As to my "sudden" interest, well that simply reflects that they are in the news at the moment.
Clear now?
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:48 PM   #33
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And I'll make an educated guess here : I imagine that Cooper probably is familiar with your list (and beyond). So that's ok then. Carry on Baz, as you were.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:58 PM   #34
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And I notice neither Headmaster or Michael have replied to Roehre's posting above. I give it again here :

In the case of opus 18 it isn't an academic exercise, as it is only by accident that the earlier versions of the first three of these 6 quartets haven't survived completely but for the F-major quartet.

Opus 18/1 has survived completely in its earlier version, no.2 and 3 have partly so, but also have many sketches of these works, including -and that is essential here- some of the continuity drafts.
With the latter as point of departure it is only a matter of placing the right sketches or passages from the published works or surviving parts on top of this continuity draft - more a solvable jigsaw puzzle than a conjecture like the 10th symphony.
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:38 PM   #35
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Oh, and hobby horses? Neigh, sounds like you've got a dose of the trots.

Last edited by Quijote; 10-04-2011 at 06:43 PM. Reason: Giddy-up!
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:10 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Philip View Post
Many of them are indeed unknown to me (unlike the rarely played 'cello variations Op. 66, WoO 45/46, Piano variations WoO 78/79 God save the King / Rule Britannia). Still, the remaining lacunae in my Beethoven listening and/or playing repertoire do not dampen for one moment my enthusiasm for reconstructions of sketches. Do these rarely played/heard works thrown light on an actual work as does Cooper's latest essay? No, is the short answer. Yes, one should really try and hear the works you list. Yes, one should find it perfectly natural to find discarded sketches interesting. Why do you seek to conflate two separate points?
I recapitulate: though Beethoven discarded his first version of the Op 18 quartet movement in question, no amount of fretting on your or Michael's part will stop me taking an interest in them. As to my "sudden" interest, well that simply reflects that they are in the news at the moment.
Clear now?
Actually these rarely played pieces do throw a bright spotlight particularly on early, first period Beethoven and completely smash the misconception that he didn't 'get going' until the late 1790s - the early piano quartets for example reveal a composer of astonishing maturity for a 15 year old.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:20 PM   #37
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Don't forget the astonishing set of variations on Righini's "Venni Amore", WoO 65 composed 1790-91. I consider this to be Beethoven's earliest masterpiece (along with the first of the two Bonn secular cantatas).

For many years no copies of the original 1791 edition of the piano variations were known to exist. The earliest source was an edition of 1802 and it was generally believed for years that Beethoven must have substantially revised the work on the grounds that he could not have written such an advanced work as early as 1791.

When the original was discovered, it proved everybody wrong for it showed that no changes were made for the second edition, and that B had developed his compositional style much earlier than previously imagined.
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