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Ludwig van Beethoven, Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 1 (C-Dur) op. 15, Kadenz zum ersten Satz, Autograph, Fragment

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H. C. Bodmer, HCB Mh 10

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Original cadenza

Beethoven performed his First Piano Concerto in C major op. 15 for the first time in an academy of the Tonkünstler-Societät (Musician's Society) at the Hofburgtheater in Vienna on 29 March 1795. On this occasion he did not, however, play the cadenza for the first movement of the concerto in the autograph score shown here. He only wrote it after the concerto had been published. Beethoven may have mentioned it in a letter to Count Moriz von Dietrichstein in January 1808. He said that he had written the cadenza in connection with the "Liebhaber Concert", which took place on 31.1.1808. In the same letter the composer wrote that Johann Baptist Stainer (Steiner) von Felsburg (1756-1832), who was meant to play the solo part, was not very dexterous, adding " be advised, he [Felsburg] will fall, before he reaches the cadenza - (...) - I myself said to H. Felsenburg that I would advise him not to play tomorrow - he'll make a pig's ear of it. NB. As soon as he can play the concerto better, he may perform it."
The cadenza has only survived as a fragment - it stops after the first 60 bars. Many factors suggest that Beethoven wrote it down in its complete form but that the second half went missing. At the auction of Beethoven's estate in November 1827, at which the publisher Tobias Haslinger acquired the cadenza under the lot number 161, it was no longer complete. (J.R.)

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