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Ludwig van Beethoven, Trio für Klavier, Violine und Violoncello (D-Dur) op. 70,1, Klavierstimme, Überprüfte Abschrift

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, NE 183

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Beethoven's fingerings for Baroness Ertmann

There is extensive source material for the Piano Trio op. 70 no. 1, the so-called "Ghost Trio". As well as elaborate sketches, there is a complete autograph score (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York) as well as a corrected copy (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna). In 1991 the Beethoven-Haus was finally able to add another corrected copy to its collection. It is unfortunately not complete - it only contains the piano part (the violin and cello parts are missing).

The copy has two title pages. After the first version (now leaf 2) had been corrected several times, becoming almost illegible due to the erasures, Beethoven obviously decided to make a "fair" version, that is a second title page (now leaf 1). This second leaf - on a different kind of paper - was sewn onto the original title page (the seam is for the most part now open). Alongside title, dedication (to the Countess Erdödy) and signature there is a further note in Beethoven's handwriting at a slant on the right side and crossed out, "Dieses wird die Baronin Ertmann den kommenden Dinstag spielen" (This will be played by the Baroness Ertmann next Tuesday). Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann was a talented and virtuosic pianist, who Beethoven not only respected as an interpreter - he also dedicated his Piano Sonata op. 101 to her. Beethoven might have been referring to the copy shown here, when in a letter of 16 April 1809 he asked his friend Nikolaus Zmeskall the following, "If I don't turn up, dear Z[meskall], which may well happen, ask the Baroness von Ertmann to leave with you the pianoforte part of the trio; and then be so kind as to send it to me today together with the other parts" (from the translation by Emily Anderson, 1961). The corrected copy contains numerous dynamic marks, in part more extensive than those in the autograph score or the original edition. It also contains fingerings by Beethoven on leaf 7r (image 13). Did Baroness Ertmann play from this part which Beethoven had prepared for her? (J.R.)

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