Beethoven in 1803
Portrait by Hornemann
A Beethoven letter from Baden to Ries, dated July 14, 1804, hints at a rehearsal at Schuppanzigh's on Wednesday, the 18th of July, for which Beethoven wanted to "take care" to be there. It was, in fact, Ries' rehearsal of Piano Concerto No. 3. Let us refer to Ries' own report:
"Beethoven had given me his beautiful Concerto in C minor (Op. 37) in manuscript so that I might make my first public appearance as his pupil with it; and I am the only one who ever appeared as such while Beethoven was alive. . . . Beethoven himself conducted, but he only turned the pages and never, perhaps, was a concerto more beautifully accompanied. He had two large rehearsals. I had asked Beethoven to write a cadenza for me, but he refused and told me to write one myself and he would correct it. Beethoven was satisfied with my composition and made few changes; but there was an extremely brilliant and very difficult passage in it, which, though he liked it, seemed to him too venturesome, wherefore he told me to write another in its place. A week before the concert he wanted to hear the cadenza again. I played it and floundered in the passage; he again, this time a little ill-naturedly, told me to change it. I did so, but the new passage did not satisfy me; I therefore studied the other, and zealously, but was not quite sure of it. When the cadenza was reached in the public concert Beethoven quietly sat down. I could not persuade myself to choose the easier one. When I boldly began the more difficult one, Beethoven violently jerked his chair; but the cadenza went through all right and Beethoven was so delighted that he shouted 'Bavo!' loudly. This electrified the entire audience and at once gave me a standing among the artists. Afterwards, while expressing his satisfaction he added: 'But all the same you are willful! If you had made a slip in the passage I would never have given you another lesson!" (Thayer: 355).
With respect to Beethoven's first three works in this category, Thayer further has to report that the first two were performed in Berlin and Frankfort/Main within two yeas and the third in Berlin in late 1804, while Piano Concerto No. 3 was published by the Kunst-und Industrie-Comptoir in 1804 and dedicated to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Beethoven's cherished "royal pianist" friend.
There can only be added one more not with respect to the first Piano Concertos, namely by Ries who reported:
"I recall only two instances in which Beethoven told me to add a few notes to his composition: once in the theme of the rondo of the 'Sonate Pathetique' (Op. 13) and again in the theme of the rondo of his first Concerto in C major, where he gave me some passages in double notes to make it more brilliant. He played this last rondo, in fact, with a expression peculiar to himself. . . . " (Thayer: 367).
As far as first references to Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto are concerned, Barry Cooper reports with respect to early 1804:
"Amongst first sketches for Leonore are very early ones for three major works that were not completed for several years and had to wait until 1808 for their public premiere: the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, and the Fourth Piano Concerto" (Cooper: 138).
Cooper further reports that the sequence in which Beethoven worked on his major works of that period in the year 1806 saw him beginning with his work on his Fourth Piano Concerto, namely after the revision of his opera Fidelio/Leonore (thus in winter and spring of 1806). (Thayer places Beethoven's start of his work on this Piano Concerto into the year 1805 [Thayer: 392]). Cooper further explains that during this period, Beethoven was not using a sketchbook, but rather only loose leaves, and that many of them may have been lost, so that the progress he made with this work can not be easily traced. His first sketch from the beginning of 1804 was supposed to only have stretched over five bars, that on July 5, 1806, however, a first score was completed, since Beethoven offered this work to Breitkopf and Härtel in his letter of July 5, 1806 (Cooper: 155).
Thayer reports that Caspar Carl van Beethoven offered the work to Hoffmeister and Kühnel, together with Christus am Ölberge for 600 florins in a letter dated March 27, 1806. With respect to Beethoven's own correspondence with Breitkopf and Härtel, we can feature the text of this letter of July 5, 1806:
Wien, am 5ten Juli 1806.
Ich benachrichtige Sie, daß mein Bruder in Geschäften seiner Kanzlei nach Leipzig reist, und ich habe ihm die Ouvertüre von meiner Oper im Klavierauszug, mein Oratorium und ein n e u e s K l a v i e r k o n z e r t miggegeben.--" (Schmidt, Beethoven= Briefe, 44--Vienna, on the 5th of July, 1806. P.S. I inform you that my brother is traveling to Leipzig on behalf of his office, and I have given him to take along the piano reduction of the overture to my opera, my oratorio and a n e w p i a n o c o n c e r t o.")
We do not know whether or not these travel plans materialized and can only observe that
"New offers were made in the fall, still with no results. Thus the work, composed probably in the spring of this year (17: There is a sketch for the opening of the first movement near the end of the "Eroica" sketchbook, thus early 1804. See Nottebohm, Ein Skizzenbuch (1880), p. 69), may not have received its final touches until the end of the year through lack of a publisher" Thayer: 407).
Here, we can consult Cooper for comparison: "...but the essential elements of the concerto were evidently fixed by that time, for later sketches are associated with relatively minor details" (Cooper: 155).
Cooper reports that the Fourth Piano Concerto as well as the Coriolan-Overture and the Fourth Symphony had their first private performance in March, 1807 (Cooper: 183) and that the London-based composer, pianist and piano maker Muzio Clementi finally established contact with Beethoven during this year and that they entered into a publishing contract which secured Clementi the English publication rights to Beethoven's latest composition, such as the Fourth Symphony, the so-called Razumovksy Quartets, the Violin Concerto, the Coriolan-Ouverture, but also to the Fourth Piano Concerto. Three of these works, among them the Fourth Piano Concerto, were already shipped to England on April 22, 1807 (Cooper: 186, 187).
With respect to the actual premiere of this Concerto, we have to move beyond the year 1806 with its astonishing number of "lyrical" compositions such as the 4th Symphony and the Violin Concerto, Beethoven's falling- out of the summer with Prince Lichnowsky, right into the scenario of his very likely-- without the annuity of 600 florins from Prince Lichnowsky--financially less secure existence as a free-lance composer in Vienna, but also into his having established new ties of patronage and well-meaning bestowed on him by the likes of Archduke Rudolph (for whose use he had already composed up. 56, the so-called "Triple Concerto" in C for Pianoforte, Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra which was, however, dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz and first performed in May, 1808), as well as Countess Erdödy, into the year 1808 which saw him, at last at ist closing, living at his Krügerstraße 1074 apartment in the same building as Countess Erdödy.
Very likely due to his financial situation, this time also saw the unfolding of his negotiations for the post of Kapellmeister at Kassel to the King of Westphalia, Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother.
From our Biographical Pages, we also know that this did not mean that Beethoven made no efforts, at all, at earning some revenue, since, towards the end of 1808, he was very busy with his plans for his December 22nd "Akademie" at the Theater-an-der-Wien. Let us look at the list of works that were to be performed that evening:
"The Akademie was advertised in the Wiener Zeitung of December 17 as follows:
MUSICAL. A K A D E M I E
On Thursday, December 22, Ludwig van Beethoven will have the honor to give a musical Akademie in the R.I. Priv. Theater-an-der-Wien. All the pieces are of his composition, entirely new, had not yet been heard in public. . . . First Part:
1. A Symphony, entitled: "A Recollection of Country Life," in F major (No. 5).
2. Aria. 3. Hymn with Latin text, composed in the church style with chorus and solos. 4. Pianoforte Concerto played by himself.
Second Part. 1. Grand Symphony in C minor (No. 6). 2. Holy, with Latin text composed in the church style with chorus and solos. 3. Fantasia for Pianoforte alone. 4. Fantasia for the Pianoforte which ends with the gradual entrance of the entire orchestra and the introduction of choruses as finale.
Boxes and reserved seats are to be had in the Krugerstrasse No. 1074, first story. Beginning at half past six o'clock" (Thayer: 446).
It was reportedly Beethoven's willingness to appear in charity concerts such as those of November 15, 1807 (featuring Beethoven's 4th Symphony), April 13 and November 15, 1808, that caused Court Councillor Joseph Hartl, then theatre director of that establishment, to grant Beethoven his own 'Academy'.
On the other hand, it might have been at the rehearsals or at the last-mentioned November 15, 1808, benefit concert itself that Beethoven had a falling-out with the orchestra members of the theatre that led to a reportedly very awkward situation with respect to his dealings with the orchestra during the rehearsals for his own Academy, with respect to which Thayer brings this report based on citations from a conversation with Röckel:
"Beethoven had made the orchestra of the Theater-an-der Wien so angry with him that only the leaders, Seyfried, Clement, etc., would have anything to do with him, and it was only after much persuasion and upon condition that Beethoven should not be in the room during the rehearsals, that the rank and file consented to play. During the rehearsals, in the large room in back of the theatre, Beethoven walked up and down in an anteroom, and often Röckel with him. After a movement Seyfried would come to him for criticsms. Röckel believed the story (i.e., if told of a rehearsal) of Beethoven in his zeal having knocked the candles off the pianoforte, and he himself saw the boys, one on each side, holding candles for him" (Thayer: 447).
Let us now look at Reichhardt's account of this concert:
"I accepted the kind offer of Prince Lobkowitz to let me sit in his box with hearty thanks. There we continued, in the bitterest cold, too, from half past six to half past ten, and experienced the truth that one can easily have too much of a good thing--and still more of a loud. Nevertheless, I could no more leave the box before the end than could the exceedingly good-natured and delicate Prince, for the box was in the first balcony near the stage, so that the orchestra with Beethoven in the middle conducting it was below us and near at hand; thus many a failure in the performance vexed our patience in the highest degree. Poor Beethoven, who from this, his own concert, was having the first and only scant profit that he could find in a whole year, had found in the rehearsals and performance a lot of opposition and almost no support. Singers and orchestra were composed of heterogeneous elements, and it had been found impossible to get a single full rehearsal for all the pieces to be performed, all filled with the greatest difficulties" (Thayer: 448).
With respect to all vicissitudes related to the performance at this concert of the Choral Fantasy, it should be pointed out that these should be reflected in a separate work history.
While Beethoven had also asked Ries to play his Piano Concerto No. 4 at the December 23 benefit concert for the Widows and Orphans Fund, Ries, only having five days at his disposal to learn the new work, asked Beethoven if he could play the C minor Concerto, instead. A very angry Beethoven turned to the young pianist Stein who felt compelled to agree with Beethoven's wishes, could, however, not prepare the work in time, so that Beethoven had to, after all, agree with Ries' playing the C minor Concerto that evening.
Our notes of the year 1808 conclude with Thayer's mentioning the Concerto's publication in that year by the Kunst- und Industrie-Comptoir in Vienna and its being dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria (see also above, Cooper: 178).
While the question of Beethoven's being offered the Kassel Kapellmeister position is discussed at the beginning of Thayer/Forbes' chapter of the year 1809, our placing its beginnings into the latter part of 1808 is confirmed by Thayer's comment, "A letter dated Jan. 7, 1809, by Beethoven to Breitkopf and Härtel, indicates that at the opening of the year 1808, Beethoven was still firmly resolved to go to Cassel" (Thayer: 453). Let us feature the relevant part of the original text of this letter:
"Endlich bin ich denn nun von Ränken und Kabalen und Niederträchtigkeiten aller Art gezwungen, daß noch einzige deutsche Vaterland zu verlassen; auf einen Antrag Seiner Königlichen Majestät von Westfalen gehe ich als Kapellmeister mit einem jährlichen Gehalt von 600 Dukaten in Gold dahin ab--ich habe eben heute meine Zusicherung, daß ich komme, auf der Post abgeschickt, und erwarte nur noch mein Dekret, um hernach meine Anstalten zur Reise, welche über Leipzig führen soll, zu treffen.-- . . . " (Schmidt, Beethoven=Briefe: 59-60; "Finally, I am forced by intrigues, cabals and despicable actions of all kinds, to leave the only remaining German fatherland; on the invitation of His Royal Majesty of Westfalia, I am going there as Kapellmeister with an annual salary of 600 ducats in gold--today, I mailed off my confirmation that I will come, and am only waiting for the decree so that I can make my preparations for my journey.--").
Beethoven in 1808
Sketch by Schnorr
The turn of the year 1808-1809 is also the time span in which we should look for the first sketches to Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73, that he would also dedicate to Archduke Rudolph. Thayer reports that these are to be found in the Grasnick sketchbook, right after the Choral Fantasia which was performed on December 22, 1808. Kinsky-Halm and Nottebohm are found to hold differing views with respect to Beethoven's beginning of these sketches. While Nottebohm still places them into 1808, Kinsky-Halm contends that they could only have been begun after the December 22, 1808, premiere of the Choral Fantasy and that they, along with the later-composed piano introduction to the Fantasy, belong to the early part of 1809.
The major part of the sketches for Piano Concerto No. 5 are, according to Thayer, to be found in the Meinert Sketchbook and appear to cover the time of February to October, 1809.
What events lay in between, we also discussed in our Biographical Pages, particularly the annuity contract in Beethoven's favor that appeared to have been completed by March, 1809, according to Beethoven's letters to Breitkopf and Härtel of March 4, 1809:
"My honored Sir:
From the enclosed you see how things have changed, and that I shall stay here--although perhaps I can plan to make a little trip after all if the storm clouds that are now threatening don't develop;-- . . . " (Thayer: 460).
and to Ignaz von Gleichenstein of March 18, 1809:
"Du siehst, mein lieber Gleichenstein, aus dem Beigefuegten, wie ehrenvoll nun mein Hierbleiben für mich geworden-- der Titel als Kaiserl. Kapellmeister kömmt auch nach--etc.--Schreibe mir nun solbald als möglich, ob Du glaubst, daß ich bei den jetzigen kriegerischen Umständen reisen soll,-- . . . " (Schmidt, Beethoven=Briefe: 61-62; "From the attached you see, my dear Gleichenstein, how honorable my staying here has become for me--the title of Imperial Kapellmeister will follow-- etc.--Write to me as soon as possible if you think that I should travel in the present war-like circumstances,-- . . .")
but also his argument over a servant matter with Countess Erdödy, see his note to her of the spring of 1809:
"Meine liebe Gräfin, ich habe gefehlt, das ist wahr, verzeihen Sie mir; es ist gewiß nicht vorsätzliche Bosheit von mir, wenn ich Ihnen weh getan habe -- erst seit gestern abend weiß ich recht, wie alles ist, und es tut mir sehr leid, daß ich so handelte. -- Lesen Sie Ihr Billett kaltblütig und urteilen Sie selbst, ob ich das verdient habe, und ob Sie damit nicht alles sechsfach mir wiedergegeben haben, indem ich Sie beleidigte, ohne es zu wollen. Schicken Sie noch heute mir mein Billett zurück, und schreiben mir nur mit einem Worte, daß Sie wieder gut sind, ich leide unendlich dadurch, wenn Sie dieses nicht tun; ich kann nichts tun, wenn das so fortdauern soll -- ich erwarte Ihre Vergebung" (Schmidt, Beethoven=Briefe: 62; "My dear Countess, I have erred, it is true, forgive me; it was certainly not deliberate malice when I have hurt you -- only since last night have I learned how everything actually is and I am very sorry that I acted this way. -- Read your note in cold blood and judge for yourself if I deserve this, and if you have not returned my 'favor' six-fold for unwillingly insulting you. Return my note to me still today and write to me with only one word that you are reconciled, I suffer endlessly through this, if you do not do this; I cannot do anything if that should continue -- I am awaiting your forgiveness").
While a reconciliation might have taken place, Beethoven, nevertheless, moved his lodgings from Krügerstraße 1074 to the Walfischgasse, overlooking the city wall and glacis.
The "war-like circumstances" Beethoven referred to in his letter to Gleichenstein would soon prove to get very serious, indeed, since the French invasion would soon find Beethoven locked up in the beleaguered Vienna at the beginning of May, while most of his patrons, such as Countess Erdödy and Archduke Rudolph, fled the city.
Beethoven is reported as having taken refuge in his brother Caspar Carl's house at the Rauhensteingasse, sitting in the basement, covering his sensitive ears with pillows so as not to have them hurt from the effects of the bombardment of Vienna.
The French occupation, from the Austrian capitulation to the July 12th armistice, brought about a worsening of Vienna's economic situation due to the financial drain on it in form of inflationary price hikes, scarcity of food, and due to the loans imposed on home owners that were, of course, again reflected in rents.
May 31, 1809, saw the death of Joseph Haydn and we do not know as to whether Beethoven attended his funeral and how his death affected him.
Places of leisure such as the Prater and Augarten were only re-opened to the public at the end of July.
In his letter to Breitkopf and Härtel of August 8, 1809,
"Vielleicht können Sie mir eine Ausgabe von Goethes und Schillers vollständigen Werken zukommen lassen,--von Ihrem literarischen Reichtum get so was so bei Ihnen ein, und ich schicke Ihnen demfür mancherlei, d.h. etwas, was ausgeht in alle Welt.--Die zwei Dichter sind meine Lieblingsdichter so wie Ossian, Homer, welchen letzteren ich leider nur in Übersetzungen lesen kann.--Da Sie dieselben so bloß mir aus Ihrer literarischen Schatzkammer ausschütten zu brauchen, so machen Sie mir die größte Freude damit, um so mehr, da ich hoffe, den Rest des Sommers noch in irgendeinem glücklichen Landwinkel zubringen zu können.-- . . . " (Schmidt, Beethoven= Briefe: 64; "Perhaps you can send me an edition each of Goethe's and Schiller's complete works,--from your literary wealth, something like that will surely reach you, and in turn, I will send you this and that, i.e. something that will go out into the entire world.--These two poets are my favorite poets, like Ossian, Homer, of whom I can read the latter's works only in translation.--Since you only have to pour these works out to me from your literary treasure trove, you would do me the greatest favor by it, all the more since I hope to spend at least some part of the rest of this summer in some pleasant countryside abode.--")
as we can see, Beethoven hoped that he would be able to spend at least some time of the remainder of the warm season outside of the city.
With all of these events falling into the period that is determined as that of the completion of the sketches of the Meinertz sketchbook, we can not ascertain as to what progress this work made at what particular time.
However, we can see a striking difference between the "spirit" of this Piano Concerto and the outer circumstances in which it was written, thus confirming to ourselves the notion that such outer events do not necessarily have to find a reflection in the "musical spirit" of a composer's work.
Between Beethoven's most likely October, 1809 completion of this work and its German publication (it was first published in London in 1810; Cooper points out that Clementi obtained the rights to it [Cooper: 189]), that the works op. 73 - op. 82 were published in London from August 1810 on [Cooper: 197]), and its most likely first performance in 1811, there would pass the year 1810 nearly uneventfully with respect to it, and only with respect to the spring of 1811 do we find mention again of this Concerto's manuscript, by March of that year, being in the possession of Breitkopf and Härtel for its publication (Thayer: 507). With respect to Beethoven's view on "human perfection", we might quote this not un-amusing letter of his to Breitkopf and Härtel of May 6, 1811:
"P.P. Fehler--Fehler--Sie sind selbst ein einziger Fehler--da muß ich meinen Kopisten hinschicken, dort muß ich selbst hin, wenn ich will, daß meine Werke--nicht als bloße Fehler erscheinen.-- . . . --Hier das Verzeichnis der Fehler.-- . . . Leben Sie wohl, ich hoffe Besserung,--Fehlen Sie soviel Sie wollen, lassen Sie so viel fehlen, wie Sie wollen--Sie sind bei mir doch hochgeschätzt; dies ist ja der Gebrauch bei den Menschen, daß man sie, weil sie nicht noch größere Fehler gemacht haben, schätzt. Ihr ergebenster Diener Beethoven" (Schmidt, Beethoven= Briefe: 70; "P.P. Mistakes--mistakes--You, yourself, are a one and only mistake--I have to send my copyist thither, and there I have to see to it myself that my works to not--appear as mere mistakes.-- . . . --Here the list of mistakes.-- . . . Farewell, I hope for improvement.--Make as many mistakes as you want, let as many mistakes be made as you want,--In my mind, you are still held in high esteem; that is, after all, a human custom that one holds one's fellow human beings in esteem since they have not made even bigger mistakes. Your devoted servant Beethoven").
With respect to the likely first public performance of this Concerto, we can refer to this pictorial entry in Todtri Production's Pictorial Beethoven book which features Friedrich Schneider who reportedly performed this work for the first time on November 28, 1811, in Berlin.
pianist at the premiere of
Piano Concerto No.5, 'Emperor'
With respect to the first Viennese performance, Thayer has this to report:
"Beethoven had surely earned the right to retire and leave the virtuoso field to his pupils, of whom Baroness Ertmann and Carl Czerny were preeminent as performers of his music. In the more private concerts he had already long given place to the Baroness; and now Czerny began to take it before the public, even to the extent of introducing his last new composition for pianoforte and orchestra, Op. 73. Theodor Körner, lately arrived in Vienna, writes home under date February 15, 1812: 'On Wednesday the 12th, for the benefit of the Society of Noble Ladies for Charity, a concert and tableaux, representing three pictures by Raphael, Poussin and Troyes as described by Goethe in his 'Elective Affinities' were given. The pictures offered a glorious treat; a new pianoforte concerto by Beethoven failed.
Castelli's Thalia gives the reason why this noble work on this, its first public performance in Vienna, was so coldly received: 'If this composition...failed to receive the applause which it deserved, the reason is to be sought partly in the subjective character of the work, partly in the objective nature of the listeners. Beethoven, full of proud confidence in himself, never writes for the multitude; he demands understanding and feeling, and because of the intentional difficulties, he can receive these only at the hands of the knowing, a majority of whom is not to be found on such occasions. That was precisely the truth. The work was out of place. . . ." (Thayer: 526).
Thus, Piano Concerto No. 5 remained the only Concerto Beethoven did not perform in public due to the progress of his loss of hearing.
Without proof of Beethoven's further, yet never completed, attempt at a sixth Piano Concerto, our chronological history of these works would now be completed. Let us, therefore, take a look at the details of Beethoven's unfinished Sixth Piano Concerto.
"The composition under discussion here (1) would have been the Sixth Piano Concerto if it had been brought to completion, and although it is one of the longest and most developed of Beethoven's unfinished works, it has had surprisingly little notice in the vast Beethoven literature" (Lockwood in "The Creative World of Beethoven": 122)
is what Lewis Lockwood wrote in the introduction to his article Beethoven's Unfinished Piano Concerto of 1815: Sources and Problems (Musical Quarterly, 56 (1970), (24-46), reprinted in Paul Henry Lang, (ed), The Creative World of Beethoven (New York, 1971), 122-44).
From the title of this article we can already discern that Beethoven attempted to write this (unfinished) work in 1815. In order for us to re-establish our familiarity with the outer circumstances of Beethoven's life, we might wish to take a brief glance at the relevant passages from the section The Triumphant Genius of our Biographical Pages. As we can see, during the period of 1814 - 1815, Beethoven was at the height of his fame in the public eye.
Beethoven in 1814
Sketch by Letronne
However, we can also discern that this was the period in which his heroic style of his second creative phase would come to its end.
It is exactly at this point in his development that we will attempt to follow scholarly opinions with respect to this unfinished work.
However, in order to also gain a practical impression that we as lay readers can follow, let us establish what scholarship has learned with respect to the sources on which it will have to base its arguments.
Lewis supports his argument of this work not having been discussed at length by referring to the only sources that dealt with it to some degree (Nottebohm) or briefly mentioned it (Thayer/Forbes) and those bibliographers who listed it (Hess) by referring to these sources as follows:
Zweite Beethoveniana (Leipzig, 1887), Chapters XXXIII and XXXIV, particularly pp. 312 (incipit); 314-15 ("kleine abgebrochene Entwürfe"; 321 ff: Von Miller=Scheide-Sketchbook, with brief mentions of it therein;
an essay entitled "Ein unvollendetes Clavierkonzert" with a concise discussion of the autograph that mainly preserved the work (ibid, 223-24);
Nottebohm is also reported by Lockwood as having published a reduced transcription of the first twenty measures;
Thayer/Forbes, II, p. 613:
"There is a sketchbook in the Berlin Library, described by Nottebohm, which shows in part what compositions employed Beethoven's thoughts about this time.(5) It contains sketches for marches; an unfinished piano concerto in D;(6) . . . "
is reported by Lockwood as listing the work as no. 15 in his Catalogue of Works by Beethoven Not Published in the Collected Edition (Wiesbaden, 1957), which Lockwood describes as a listing for finished works rather than for sketches.
As direct sources, Lockwood lists:
I. The Autograph Manuscript (Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Artaria MS 184), "sixty pages containing the greater portion of the first movement of the concerto" (Lockwood: 127);
II. The Sketches:
(a) The Scheide Sketchbook, pages 4-32, formerly known as the Von Miller, Koch, and Flörsheim sketchbook, now in the possession of William Scheide, at the Scheide Library at Princeton University;
(b) The "Mendelssohn" sketchbook (Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek) of 1814, perhaps going into 1815;
(c) The "Mendelssohn" pocket sketchbook (Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbilbiothek), assigned by Nottebohm to 1815;
(d) MS Landsberg (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung), pages 79-82.
(e) London, British Museum Add. 29997, folios 41'-41'-42'.
(f) MS Grasnick 20b, folios 21-23 (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung).
While Lockwood primarily traces the organic development of these sources rather than wanting to
" . . . resort to assertions about the work and its sources that cannot be readily checked, . . . not the analysis and evaluation of the work as a whole, but rather an interpretation of the network of problems raised by the autograph and sketches in their manifold interrelations",
he discusses that:
1. Beethoven had worked on it in late 1814 and in early 1815;
2. worked it out in several sources and finally abandoned it;
3. it is not known for whom it was intended and when it was precisely begun and dropped.
While the actual discussion of the organic development of the sources is a matter that we would want to refer readers to to follow directly in Lockwood's excellent and instructive article, we are also pleased to report that The Unheard Beethoven Collection has developed a midi file of this unfinished first movement of what would have become Beethoven's Sixth Piano Concerto. The introductory information to this midi file states that it is based on "the performing edition prepared by Prof. Nicholas Cook and Kelina Kwan", and Prof. Cook's notes contained therein point out that the style "is at several points distinctly retrospective, and the materials are curiously symphonic for a piano concerto", and, in his essay, Lockwood also points out that, "As a composition attempt it belongs to that twilight stage of his career that divides the 'second' period from the 'third'" (Lockwood: 124), both of which might hint at the impression that, during this period of stylistic change, Beethoven, himself, might have realized that this work did not present a step forward in his artistic development. We might also venture as far as raising the question as to whether, in addition to possible outer reasons for its abandonment (such as the one suggested by Cook with the cancelled benefit concert of 1815), this realization might also have been a reason that Beethoven abandoned it. More than that we, as lay listeners and Beethoven friends, can not possibly assert. However, we can all enjoy listening to what the Unheard Beethoven Collection can offer us as an impression of the unfinished first movement of this work.
Should we, however, consider this artistically logical turn of events as our 'real end' of our involvement with the works described here? Might we not, rather, wish to listen to the ending of the third movement of Piano Concerto No. 5 and take our inspiration for our further listening experiences from its invigorating effect? The writer certainly hopes so and wishes all of us many enriching listening experiences in concert or in recordings, while I hope to be able to present you here, in due course, with a further exploration of the musical content of these concertos, in which I will, of course, rely on reports by music experts. Until then!