Beethoven reconstruction by Cees Nieuwenhuizen

Karl van Beethoven | Sonata in D major for Piano Four Hands | Reconstruction

Based on the score by Kaspar Karl van Beethoven

When one mentions the name Beethoven, very few people think of Kaspar Anton Karl. This is naturally due to his four year older brother Ludwig. He really left us a formidable musical inheritance. The fact that there was also a brother named Kaspar is known, but only few people are aware of the fact that this brother also composed his own music. That is information possessed only by the experts.

In the last few years there has been a lot of research into the authenticity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s work. Namely works in which there are no or hardly any sketches in existence. There was always doubt concerning the authenticity of the Zwölf Menuette WoO 12. This is because the instrumentation and technical composition deviated from other works during this same early period. The handwriting of different minuets have been compared lately. Large differences were seen in comparison to Ludwigs style of writing. It became clear that in fact Karl van Beethoven must have been the author.

Karl composed other works that were previously thought to be from Ludwig, such as Pianotrio in D major Anhang 3, Rondo in B flat Anhang 6, and the Quatre Mains sonata in D major. This work, which was probably composed in 1799 was neither published, edited or performed. However, some works must have been published from him because the publisher F.A. Hoffmeister in Vienna stated in January 1800: “… ganz neu zu haben von Carl van Beethoven…

The Quatre Mains Sonata in D major is an under-appreciated work and, as far as we know, this is its first edition. With a couple of necessary interventions and adjustments, a very nice quatre mains piano sonata has arisen, despite some musical weaknesses here and there. The quatre mains literature is not very thickly studded with original work. This Quatre mains Sonata in D major can meet this need! Above all it is fascinating because it is a work composed by the brother of…

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