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…

Beethoven | Piano Concerto in A major | Second and third movement

Based on sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven, deest 42

In 2005, Cees reconstructed the slow movement of the piano concerto in A major, from the sketch originating from the Kafka sketchbook. In the sketch of the second movement (adagio) Beethoven did leave some kind of score, including the key signature and even a time signature. However, both the instrumentation and the large continuous lines of the piano part were missing. These had to be extrapolated and worked out. After the world premiere of this second movement (in the Rotterdam Doelen in 2005), there was a lot of speculation regarding the other movements: Above the sketch of the Adagio in D major Beethoven clearly wrote, “Concerto in A”.

Kafka sketchbook first page of the adagio

Kafka Sketchbook f. 154v, autograph miscellany from circa 1786 to 1799, London 1970, published by The Trustees of the British Museum

There are no extensive sketches or drafts of this Concerto in A major. Apart from the abovementioned Adagio in D major, in the various sketchbooks there are several notes from all kinds of other fragmentary piano concertos that have never been completed. However, several sketches can be identified as parts of or preliminary studies for other concertos. There are, for example, themes and fragments which very possibly may be part of the aforementioned Concerto in A major. It is striking, for example, that the rondo theme in A major has many similarities with the theme of the rondo from the First Piano Concerto in C major Opus 15. The fugato is quite similar to the fugato from the rondo of the Third Piano Concerto in C minor Opus 37.

The themes and preliminary studies from the sketchbooks were thus sometimes used in new works, while other themes were never applied or worked out by the composer. After all, Beethoven could have completed some 20 piano concertos on the basis of his many sketches. Why he finally did not get further than his famous five will always remain a mystery.

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!

Beethoven | Erlkönig for Voice and Pianoforte

Based on sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven WoO 131

Reconstruction by Cees Nieuwenhuizen opus 52

Beethoven set many texts of Goethe to music during his life. In 1792, when he was 22 years old, Beethoven wrote a song based on a poem by Goethe, Erlkönig. It remained unfinished, probably because the composer (22 years old) had to write dances for orchestra that were performed in the Hofburg Redoutensaal in Vienna. In 1822, Beethoven and his brother had plans to issue his early, unpublished works. In these years he edited and completed a number of early sketches. Was it because he died in March 1827 that he would never finish Erlkönig? We will never know. The song remained a sketch.

Many songs by Beethoven are composed in a form that we also find in Erlkönig. For example, the song Adelaïde opus 46 is very similar in its form to Erlkönig. It is very likely that Beethoven would have written Erlkönig in the same way as his other songs.
Beethoven interrupts both text and melody frequently. In total we have just enough material to get a reasonable overall picture of the composition. We know that the piece would have begun with a great introduction that would also be used at the end of the song. In some places we had to fill in the missing Goethe text and the vocal melody, firstly to create a complete song and secondly to use the full text. In other places we had to fill in the missing piano parts. The entire piano part of the ending is written by the composer.

Beethoven | Oboe Concerto in F major | First and Second movement

Based on sketches by Ludwig van Beethoven WoO 206

Reconstruction Cees Nieuwenhuizen Opus 91

Cees has completed his reconstruction of the first and second movement of the lost Concerto for Oboe.

Beethoven | Piano Concerto in F major | First movement

Based on the first movement of the 8th symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven opus 93

Arrangement Cees Nieuwenhuizen opus 74

Beethoven | Prelude and Fugue in C major for String Orchestra

Original version for string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven Hess 31

Arrangement for string orchestra by Cees Nieuwenhuizen opus 67

The Prelude and Fugue in C major were created during the period of study with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, who lived from February 3, 1736 to March 7, 1809. Albrechtsberger was an Austrian theoretician and pedagogue of music, an organist, as well as a composer. He entered upon his career early as a choirboy in the choir of the monastery of Melk, Austria. There he was discovered by the crown prince, the later emperor Joseph II. The latter facilitated an appointment as the court organist.
Later Albrechtsberger became conductor of the chapel choir of the famous Stephansdom in Vienna. Albrechtsberger was a highly praised pedagogue; Beethoven, too, was among his pupils. It was this composer that studied with Albrechtsberger from January 1794 to March/May 1795. Together with Beethoven, Albrechtsberger researched all forms of the counterpoint, which is most manifest in the large number of exercises passed down; over 300 studies, fugues etc. have been preserved with corrections and alterations by Albrechtsberger.
During this period of study, greater works were also composed, such as the Dona Nobis Pacem (Hess A57), the Prelude and Fugue in E minor (Hess 29), the Prelude and Fugue in F major (Hess 30) and the present one in C major (Hess 31). The piece was probably composed in 1794-95; this opus also shows numerous improvements and alterations by his master, although some alterations are by Beethoven himself.
The manuscript of the work is to be found in Vienna, and did not appear in print until 1967 for the first time.
The present version sticks closely to Beethoven’s, but has been provided with a double bass part so as to adapt the work for being performed with a larger strength than for which it was originally written. The strength originally intended by Beethoven was two violins, a viola and a cello, so as a string quartet. With the supplementary bass part, the piece can also be played by a string orchestra, which will no doubt promote its dissemination and familiarity. In a sense, the work is already a preliminary study for the string quartets Opus 18 produced later.
Especially the rhythm, melodic forms, and the counterpoint applied, frequently return in these string quartets. Beethoven has hardly indicated any rests in the empty bars; Cees has as yet added them.
The phrasing, dynamics and time indications have also been added. Beethoven merely writes down the notes, while we have to accept the fact that various notes have been changed by Albrechtsberger but Beethoven’s notes might have been just as interesting. Of some notes it was not clear what Beethoven exactly meant; in such a case, Cees has adhered to the harmonious form, adapting the notes which, logically speaking, fit in with the harmonic unity.

Beethoven | Maestoso and Fugue in D minor for String Orchestra

Based on Ludwig van Beethoven Hess 40 & Opus 137

Arrangement Cees Nieuwenhuizen opus 66

Beethoven | Violin Concerto in C major | First movement

Based on a fragment by Ludwig van Beethoven WoO 5 | Completion by Cees Nieuwenhuizen opus 71

There are four known works of Beethoven for the violin and orchestra genres. They were written during the 1790-1806 period. These are the Violin Romance in G major Opus 40, the Violin Romance in F major Opus 50, the Violin Concerto in D major Opus 61 (1806) and the earlier Violin Concerto in C major WoO 5 (Hess 10). The latter was left to us as a fragment which Beethoven most probably composed in Bonn, between 1790 and 1792. The fragment contains 259 bars, fully written out and than stops abruptly….as if the score was torn in two. The composition is broken off exactly 15 bars into the development. The motif in the last known bars 258 and 259 initiated the task of joining the development as reliably as possible to the rest of the work.