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Three Trios for piano, violin and violoncello (E-flat major, G major, C minor) op. 1

Listening samples
Nr. 1: 1 Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 2 Adagio cantabile (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 3 Scherzo. Allegro assai (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 4 Finale. Presto (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 1 Adagio - Allegro vivace (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 2 Largo con espressione (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 3 Scherzo. Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 4 Finale. Presto (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 1 Allegro con brio (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 2 Adagio cantabile con variazioni (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 3 Menuetto. Quasi Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 4 Finale. Prestissimo (365 kB)

Composition
1794-95
Dedicated to Karl Fürst von Lichnowsky

Subscription for Ludwig van Beethoven's 3 grand Trios for Pianoforte, Violin and Bass, which Artaria will engrave and publish within the next 6 weeks, and which, if previously indicated, can be purchased from the composer on handing back the [subscription] bill. The price of a complete copy is 1 ducat. The subscribers' names will be printed at the beginning and they will have the advantage that this work is only available to others two months later, maybe even at a higher price. In Vienna subscriptions can be bought from the composer in the Ogylfisches Haus in Kreuzgasse no. 35 behind the Minoriten Church on the first floor.'

This advertisement, in which Beethoven drew attention to his Trios op. 1 and invited advance orders on 9 May 1795, sounds proud and self-confident. The first of his published works which the composer thought important enough to be given an opus number. The trios were composed in 1794 and 1795, possibly with older precursors for the first trio from his early years in Vienna (1792-93).

Beethoven often tested new works in private performances before they were published. He also gave Opus 1 a trial run in a house concert at Prince Lichnowsky's, his patron at the time. Also present on this occasion was Beethoven's former teacher Joseph Haydn. Ferdinand Ries writes about the evening in his Biographischen Notizen über Ludwig van Beethoven (1838): 'The three trios by Beethoven (Opus 1) were to be played to the artistic world for the first time at a soirée held at Prince Lichnowksy's. Most artists and music lovers had been invited, in particular Haydn, whose pronouncement was eagerly awaited by all. The trios were played and caused a great stir. Even Haydn said many nice things about them, but advised Beethoven not to publish the third one in C minor. This greatly surprised Beethoven, as he considered it to be the best one, and today it is still the one that is most popular and which is the most effective. So Haydn's remark angered Beethoven and made him think that Haydn was envious, jealous and wanted to do him an injustice. I must admit that when Beethoven told me this I did not believe him. I therefore took the opportunity to ask Haydn himself. His answer did, however, confirm what Beethoven had mentioned, as he said he did not think that this trio would be understood very quickly or easily and that the public would not take to it very well.' (J.R.)

Music manuscripts
Abschrift, op. 1 Nr. 3, Stimmen, NE 256

First editions
Originalausgabe, op. 1, 1-3, Stimmen, Artaria, mit handschriftlichen Eintragungen Beethovens, HCB C BMd 2
Titelauflage, op. 1, 1-3, Stimmen, Cappi, 563, C 1 / 31
Titelauflage, op. 1, 3, Stimmen, Cappi, 563, C 1 / 30
Titelauflage, op. 1, 1, Stimmen, Cappi, 563; Teilscan, C 249 / 59,1
Titelauflage, op. 1, 3, Stimmen, Cappi, 565; Teilscan, C 249 / 59,3

Scores
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Written documents
Vertrag zwischen Ludwig van Beethoven und dem Verlag Artaria & Co., Wien, 19. Mai 1795, HCB Br 280
Eigentumsbestätigung für Artaria & Comp. über alle bis 1820 im Verlag erschienenen Werke, Wien, 4. April 1820, HCB Br 5

Pictures
Fürst Karl Lichnowsky (1761-1814) - Nicht bezeichnete Miniatur in der Art Heinrich Fügers, um 1800, NE 159
Fürst Karl Lichnowsky (1761-1814) - Fotografie eines anonymen Ölgemäldes aus dem Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts, Um 1910?, B 127
Fürst Karl Lichnowsky (1761-1814) - Fotografie eines anonymen Ölgemäldes aus dem Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts, um 1910?, NE 81, Band I, Nr. 168

Literature
Bibliographic data in library catalogue

Manuscript sources in other libraries
Großbritannien, London: The British Library
Österreich, Wien: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Archiv, Bibliothek und Sammlungen

© Beethoven-Haus Bonn
E-Mail: bibliothek@beethoven-haus-bonn.de