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Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonate für Klavier (c-Moll) op. 111, 1. Satz, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, BH 71

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"as soon as you have received the other copy destroy it at once"

"(...) in the midst of so many scattered activities, it so happened that I handed the copyist my mere first concept, and as is sometimes the case in such matters, some things were not quite complete or shown correctly. You must therefore not use it, please do not show it to anybody and as soon as you have received the other copy destroy this one at once (...)". (Beethoven to Adolph Martin Schlesinger in Berlin 20 February 1822).
There is every reason to believe that Beethoven was referring to the autograph score of the Piano Sonata op.111 (shown here) in his letter to the publisher Schlesinger. Only the first movement of the sonata has survived although a second complete autograph score of the sonata has been preserved in Berlin. As Beethoven points out in his letter, the manuscript shown here reflects the different stages of the composition, which help us to date it.

Beethoven dated this "first concept" 13th January 1822 on the top of the first page (image 1). It has been greatly revised, as Beethoven indicates in his letter. Whole sections have been crossed out or erased and written over again. On page 17 (image 17) there are for example three bars which are intended as a correction for page 14 (image 14), as can be seen by the crossed circle. Even single notes, articulation or sharp and flat signs, tempo markings and dynamics have been corrected or added at a later stage. Corrections have often been made, marked by a cross, with the note "Berlin" (images 2 and 8) in the margin. On page 17 (image 17) there is a handwritten note, probably by the copyist Wenzel Rampl, who made the engraver's model of this "concept" for the publisher: "soll ich in der Hohe schreiben" ("shall I write this high"). From this it can be inferred that Beethoven had the autograph score copied (engraver's copy HCB Mh 54), which he then sent to his Berlin publisher Schlesinger in March 1822. Following this he made alterations, marking them with the word "Berlin", which is the reason why they are not in the engraver's model. The sonata was not, however, published by Adolph Schlesinger in Berlin but by his son Maurice in Paris, which Beethoven only found out around July 1822. The corrections must therefore have been made after mid March and before July 1822. (J.R.)

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