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Ludwig van Beethoven, Skizzenblatt zum Flohlied "Aus Goethes Faust" op. 75,3 und zur Klaviersonate op. 81a, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, NE 147

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Sketches for the "flea" song and Les Adieux

A sketch leaf for the "Flohlied" op. 75 no. 3 ("Flea song") from Goethe's Faust and for the Piano Sonata "Les Adieux" op. 81a. Beethoven had already begun work on the Flohlied between 1790 and 1792 - first sketches and drafts bear witness to this. The fact that the sketch leaf shown here dates from a much later period is confirmed by the sketches for the piano sonata on the reverse. Beethoven was prompted to write this composition by the events of the Napoleonic Wars: the advance of French troops towards the capital meant that the imperial family felt obliged to leave Vienna in May 1809. Beethoven's pupil Archduke Rudolph left with them. Beethoven used this opportunity to write a piano sonata for the Archduke. There are three movements: "Das Lebewohl" ("The Farewell"), "Abwesenheit" ("Absence") and "Das Wiedersehn" ("The Return"). The well-known timeframe surrounding the composition of the piano sonata proves that the sketch leaf dates to the second half of 1809. (J.R.)

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