Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Ludwig Van Beethoven. Dance

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Ludwig Van Beethoven. Dance

Article excerpt

"Ludwig van Beethoven. Dance." Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by John Storgårds. Gratulations-Menuet, WoO 3 (1 822; 4:23); Twelve Contredanses, WoO 14 (1791?2; 1 1 :23); Twelve Minuets, WoO 7 (1795; 23:00); Ritterballett, WoO 1 (1790-91; 13:00); Twelve German Dances, WoO 8 (1795; 18:00); Triumphal March for Kuffner's Tragedy Tarpeja, WoO 2a ( 1813; 2:21). Notes by Kimmo Kornhoven in English, German, and French. Recorded at the Tapiola Hall, Espoo, February 2002. ©2002. Ondine ODE 1001-2. $18.99. Rating: ****

If you wish to challenge your classical music acquaintances after dinner to a game of "Guess the Composer," you could do worse than put them through their paces with a dance or two from this sparkling collection. The music covers all three periods of Beethoven's output, from the Bonn Ritterballet of 1790-91 to the Gratulations-Menuet of 1822. The playing is spirited, elegant, and tasteful from beginning to end.

The compositional and publication history behind these sets of fetching dances is complex. For example, even though the Contredances, WoO 14, were published in 1802, sketches for four of the twelve (nos. 3, 4, 8, 12) appear in the collection of pages known as the Kafka Miscellany on both Bonn and Vienna paper types. Thus, when Beethoven constructed the set in 1801 , he reached back a full decade to pluck two of the dances (nos. 8 and 12) out of his sketches and seven years back for two more (nos. 3 and 4). Another pre-existing contredance, the seventh, is the most famous (don't try this one on your dinner guests). Somewhat of an idée fixe in the composer's brain, the melody was used by Beethoven four times: in the Creatures of Prometheus Ballet of 1801; here in 1802; in the Eroica Variations, Opus 35, published in 1803; and in the finale of the Eroica Symphony, composed in 1803 and published in 1806. …

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