Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7 Beethoven's String Duos

(My LvB bust comes in real handy for times like this where I can't find a good post header image ;) )
One of my favorite chamber pieces by Beethoven is "Duo for Violin & Cello (Es-dur) WoO.32 (1797) 'Duo w 2 Obbligato Eyeglasses'".  The story is that since Beethoven and his cellist friend both needed glasses (Beethoven was 27 here) that he made a little self-deprecating joke out of it (Beethoven played the violin as well).  This may not have the depth of the Missa Solemnis, but it's a pretty infectious main theme:
"Duo for Violin and Cello (Es-dur) WoO.32 (1797) 'Duo w 2 Obbligato Eyeglasses'"
Movement 1 - Allegro

Sadly I couldn't find a Youtube performance of the Allegretto 2nd movement...

Beethoven did not really write too many string duos but there is this string duo arrangement of the "Duo for Clarinet and Bassoon No.1 in C Major WoO.27(1815).  However there is some question as to its authenticity. Ah heck, it's still fun to hear on a lazy Sunday...
Movement I

Movement II and III (at 2:25)

And then there's this short 7-bar "napkin" composition:
Duo fur 2 Violins (A-dur) WoO.34 (1822)
Boucher asked Beethoven for a lock of his hair and for a short composition for violin. Beethoven complied with both requests, the latter one resulting in this slight work in A major. Composed in just a few moments, it is not a piece of great consequence. It consists of a mere seven measures and, not surprisingly, is a fairly simple, straightforward piece of no particular melodic distinction.  The work was obviously written as a memento, Beethoven  never intending that such a creation should find its way to a publisher's desk. Nevertheless, the duet was published posthumously (Berlin, 1901). ~ Robert Cummings, Rovi 


  1. The duo arranged for violin and cello is really delightful... The seven-bar duo is actually so short, but what a souvenir for a Beethoven's friend, anyway!


  2. The original arrangement for wind duo is pretty fun too - I'll have to post that one day...

  3. Where do you find these things? Even these little pieces are awesome!