Wednesday, June 8, 2011

6/8 Beethoven's Homework: Correcting Mozart

As part of his compositional studies (which he continued his entire life) Beethoven would copy out works such as this one, Mozart's Fugue in C Minor, KV 426.  The interesting thing here is that he made some "corrections" - as well as some "mistakes".  The Unheard Beethoven site has a midi file of B.'s corrected/messed up version of Mozart's most difficult fugue -and so I rendered it in a "Beethoven 360" soundfont....

From The Unheard Beethoven's description:

Copy of Mozart's Fugue in C minor, KV.426, Hess 37 (Date of Beethoven's version unknown). Without any doubt, Mozart's Fugue in C minor for two pianos, KV.426, is one of the greatest fugues ever written since the death of J.S.Bach. A staggering amount of canonic devices is let loose on the fugue's main subject, while maintaining a remarkable clarity of texture, demonstrating Mozart's total control of counterpoint. At the same time the music is pervaded with a holy anger one expects of a Beethoven, rather than a Mozart. In short, Mozart combines in this unique masterpiece Bach's intellectual techniques with Beethoven's deep passion. It's therefore important to realize that Beethoven not only knew Mozart's fugue, but even made a copy of it in his own handwriting. We must assume he was impressed by this work. It's somewhat surprising that, as far as we know, Beethoven never attempted to compose a similar fugue himself. There are 36 minor deviations in the copy compared to Mozart's original, most of them mere slips of the pen. Yet there are also several improvements by Beethoven...


Since today has a kind of "pedagogical" theme, here's Yvonne Lefébure teaching how to play Beethoven: (Piano Sonatas 31, 32 (Op. 110, 111))

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