Beethoven reconstruction by Cees Nieuwenhuizen

Beethoven | Piano Concerto No. 6 in D major | First movement

Based on score and sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven Unv 6 Hess 15

Beethoven wrote 256 bars of the Sixth Piano Concerto, spread over 30 pages. The handwritten version of this is kept in the Berlin State Library. In addition, there are 114 pages of separate sketches preserved in various other libraries. Cees Nieuwenhuizen studied detailed digital copies of all these scores and sketches to get a complete picture of the material. The sketches and the scores are interesting and extensive.

Autograph score MS Artaria 184 Beethoven Hess 15

Measures 1-4. Autograph score MS Artaria 184, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

The score is not a musical reduction but rather a rough ‘concept’. Beethoven made such concepts at a very early stage, capturing the most important information about the entire part: key, modulation, form, dramatic twists, solo parts etc.
Such a rough concept cannot be turned into a playing version without a proper degree of additional input, it needs some
‘additional’ composing. Therefore, we prefer not to speak about a ‘reconstruction’, but rather about a ‘playable work based on material from Beethoven’. All of Beethoven’s material is used unaltered, the rest is completion. That distinction is important, because similar compositions are easily presented as an ‘unknown Beethoven’, which does not do justice to Beethoven. We will never know what Beethoven exactly had in mind with this concert, but Cees Nieuwenhuizen sure managed to create an exciting piece of music!

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