Errors, Revisions and Corrections, and the Misprint List

by Charlotte Lehnhoff


What is meant by "errors"

One of the last things that may cross our minds when teaching, studying, or performing the A Major Sonata of Beethoven is the matter of errors in the music, on the printed page, as well as whether and how they have been corrected. It is essential to be assured that the music we are playing, working on, teaching, is reliable. It is unsettling enough to encounter typos on the printed page, as many of us have, on occasion, let alone to study the music with a suspicion that there may be something wrong with the music. But, as I discuss in the previous parts of this study, errors do exist. In print, errors are in the first edition published by Breitkopf & Härtel (referred to from now on as B & H) in Leipzig, in April, 1809, and continue up to the present day. Yet, as we shall see, the problems in printed versions are not necessarily the result of typos.

The word "error" is used here as a catch-all term to refer to a host of problems and conditions of various kinds found in printed editions and in the Autograph of the first movement, examined by Lewis Lockwood in his seminal study. 1 I use the word "error" in its common meaning to indicate something is wrong, awry, or amiss, and also use it as a companion to the word "correction," the word which Lockwood uses to refer to the changes and revisions he sees in the Autograph.2 In daily life, as in a Beethoven manuscript, it is things that are wrong which get "corrected." We don't "correct" something that meets with our approval. Beethoven's revisions in the Autograph, as with all of his manuscripts, are one type of correction. The revisions reflect his dissatisfaction with the musical idea he wrote down, or, perhaps, with some aspect of the idea. As a result of his dissatisfaction, he changed his mind about what he wrote and altered it.

Beethoven was too determined and too particular about each and every aspect of his music, at all compositional Stages3 or levels-ranging from the smallest detail up to the broadest sweep of the phrase or section-ever to allow anything to remain that did not precisely convey his compositional interests and intentions. This included such things as dynamics; slurs; phrasing articulations; harmonies and harmonic directions; rhythmic configurations. His compositional purposes were strong, and were his guiding light throughout his career.

Some of his corrections in the Autograph are not revisions of musical ideas. Sometimes Beethoven made a correction within his manuscript to fix something written incorrectly or that became illegible due to considerable reworking. 4 In reading a Beethoven manuscript, of which the Autograph is an example, one of our tasks is deciding which condition-the revision of a musical idea or a correction of a writing error-is facing us. Occasionally the two conditions are intermingled.

Several procedures are involved when reading a Beethoven manuscript. For the purposes of studying the Autograph, the primary task is to decipher his handwriting. Beethoven's handwriting isn't exactly precise. While his Stage 1 materials may be clean and neat, what the notes actually are can sometimes be misleading, and can require interpretation via the context. We will see an example of this in Part Five. The revisions can be neat but they are frequently messy and not at all easy to read. 5

In lots of places Beethoven scratched out what he wrote and put in something new. As for the location of the new material, this can get us into another procedure involved in reading a Beethoven manuscript: wending your way through the manuscript. The concern here is with finding out or determining where something is. The new material might be in the same bar next to what was scratched out. In some other instances, the substitution is placed into the staff above or below. The new material can even be put on another page! A corollary, or perhaps an inverse, to the concern of locating new material is that on occasion you might see something which doesn't seem to belong to its surroundings so you have to determine what it is, and where it might belong. There are also plenty of revisions where Beethoven does not scratch out his previous idea. For some of them, the new material is placed onto the same stem as the earlier notes. In other places, he superimposes what is new on top of what was first there. Once in a while, you can still see the original notes. We will see examples of all these situations in Part Five.

As for errors in print, there are two issues. One is to decide whether or not what needs fixing is a typo. A typo comes about because of a mistake on the part of the publisher or the printer. The other issue consists of locating the origin or origins of the mistake. In earlier parts of this study I discuss two rather well-known examples of errors in print. The dynamic markings for the Scherzo are not the same in all editions; and for the first movement in many editions, m. 36 has C-natural and m. 173 has F#. The Henle edition, 6 published in response to Lockwood's article, changed the dynamics in the Scherzo, and changed C-natural at m. 36 to C#. How and why the conditions came about such that the Henle edition changes what has been in print since the first editions were printed can lead us to feel that we are in the midst of a good mystery story.

My focus in this article and following articles will be upon the means by which Beethoven went about correcting whatever he found not to his satisfaction, and in exploring possible reasons why he felt it necessary to make these corrections. All this said, let us enter into the investigation of the errors in the spirit of a good detective story, one that will leave you feeling frustrated, bewildered at times, perhaps even confused, but which will have its share of whodunits to keep you on edge.

An error-free A Major Sonata?

Having an accurate reading of the A Major Sonata no longer need be in the realm of wishful thinking since we now have access to the Autograph of the first movement. Yet, the task of coming up with a really reliable text still is not all that easy. An accurate text will come about once we fully relate and correlate the following three elements:

  1. the Autograph of the first movement;
  2. what is in print;
  3. the fair copy, which up till now has been lost. 7

For the time being, until we can examine the fair copy, we will have to be satisfied with developing a correlation between the first two items on the list, the Autograph and the two editions of our focus, the first edition by B & H, and the Henle edition.

Right at the start, we encounter a paradox. There are two major bodies of materials, two sources, to contend with and reconcile, namely, the Autograph and all of the printed versions, and three types of errors staring us in the face which are, to varying degrees, interwoven and inseparable. One of them is the knotty problem of printer's errors-getting us into the question of the Misprint List. The remaining two sets of errors are found in the Autograph. One of them is technical in scope, concerned with the physical appearance of what Beethoven wrote in the Autograph. The other type of error has to do with the actual musical content, that is, Beethoven's musical thoughts.

The two types of errors in the Autograph

The technical errors take several forms. They are the result of Beethoven's own difficulties with the procedures by which he wrote down his music. I have already discussed some of the ways Beethoven writes his music down as well as how he goes about creating his revisions. The errors of musical content have to do with Beethoven's compositional and musical intentions. When examining this type of error the focus is different from the means by which he wrote things down. To find and comprehend these errors, you need a thorough knowledge of his style. Throughout most of the Autograph, assuming we can make out what he writes, it is possible to develop a fairly accurate reading of what is in the manuscript and make transcriptions of selected passages.

You will know you are dealing with an error of content if, once you are through with the task of making a transcription, what is before you on the page just might leave you shaking your head in bewilderment, for it somehow doesn't make musical sense! The underlying cause here has to do with the Stage of the compositional (in)completeness of Beethoven's thought. Something is not yet right with the content of the musical idea. Lockwood cites seven examples of this type of error in the Autograph, all of them in corresponding passages in the exposition and recapitulation sections. The error is identical for all seven pairs of bars: the music in these sets of bars should agree or be parallel but instead is out of sync. 8

The study of errors of musical content is, actually, one of the major reasons, if not the reason, why we go to all the trouble of wading through the thicket of deciphering Beethoven's handwriting. That's because the study of the musical content gives us an insight into and provides us with a deeper understanding of Beethoven's music. Besides, this kind of study is a lot of fun, and is the real source of gratification and payoff. As I said above, an examination of the errors in the Autograph has to take place within the context of the printer's errors. There were other early editions of the sonatas, as well, besides that published by B & H. In fact, once we develop an understanding of how-and, maybe, why-various editors came up with what they (hopefully!) offered to the public for (profitable) sale, we'll be in a good position to understand the significance of errors of content. 9

Printer's errors

There is no question that there were, and still are, in certain places, problems with printed versions. As we learn from Beethoven's letters to his friends and his publishers, galley-sheets of his music often were not sent to him for proof-reading. Given such a situation, it might seem possible, in true detective-story fashion, to make a case against B & H that the errors in their first edition should, or could, be blamed solely on them. Beethoven's complaints have the ability to create and convey the impression that his printed music contains lots of typos.

And yet, the question of the culpability of B & H is not a simple open-and-shut case. Since we are dealing with a detective story, a "however" is most certainly in order. After all, what would any good detective story be without some complicating factor capable of throwing a monkey-wrench into the proceedings? Not much of a story. As we shall see, Beethoven is not altogether innocent. Despite all his complaints about his being sent few galley-proofs, he wasn't a good proof-reader and he was the first to admit this! And so, the picture changes, opening up the possibility that the so-called "mistakes" in print might not be typos after all, and, by extension, were not the fault of the publisher.

A corollary issue to his poor proof-reading skills is Beethoven's active mind. Once he completed working on a piece, had it performed, and sent off to the publishers, he turned his energies, attention, and thoughts to something else, that is, the next project or piece. (This situation led him to make a somewhat startling claim we will look at below.) Beethoven paid little or no attention to the publication of the A Major Sonata until two months later, in the summer of 1809, when a friend of his, who is not identified, called his attention to what B & H published.


History of the Misprint List

Beethoven first examined their printed version and noticed some twenty-three different items throughout all four movements10 in the piano and the cello parts11 that were printed incorrectly and wrote what may be two different letters to B & H, reprinted in Emily Anderson's translation and edition of all the letters. 12 The first letter, number 220 in Anderson's edition, dated July 26, 1809, is extensive and discusses several topics, among which is the Sonata. 13 In this letter Beethoven informed B & H he examined what they printed and stated "'Here is a good plateful of misprints.'" 14 By this he referred to his Misprint List, which I mentioned in Part One.

The Misprint List cites in words and in notation what Beethoven saw was incorrect plus instructions for the corrections he wanted. Anderson provides transcriptions of Beethoven's notations in the List and translates the text into English, but does not number the items. 15 In Appendix V of his essay, Lockwood offers a facsimile of the Misprint List in Beethoven's handwriting; 16 transcribes the List into print in the original German; 17 and reprints Anderson's translation and transcriptions, numbering each item. 18

There may also be a second covering letter, possibly written on August 1. It has a receiving date written in of August 11, 1809. The citation of the receiving date is not in Beethoven's handwriting. This letter, number 221 in Anderson's edition states, "Here are the misprint in the cello sonata." 19 In a footnote, Anderson speculates that this second letter may have been included with the July 26 letter. 20 In addition, there is an important third letter, dated August 3, 1809, which I also discussed in Part One. This letter refers to the dynamic markings for the Scherzo and revokes what Beethoven says in the Misprint List about the dynamic markings. 21

Problems with the Misprint List

Now, we encounter a second paradox. In true detective story fashion, things are seldom what they seem. The Misprint List itself cannot be taken literally as being the last and complete word on what is, or may be, wrong with B & H's published version of the sonata. There are three different reasons for this state of affairs.

1) This reason is alluded to above, namely, Beethoven's poor skills at proof-reading. If you will recall, there is the glaring example of his third letter, of August 3, 1809, in which he undids his comments in the Misprint List concerning the dynamic markings in the Scherzo. In his correspondence with B & H about the condition of the sonata he acknowledged his awareness of his limitations as a proof-reader. In a famous sentence in his letter of July 26, quoted in Part One, he observed, " 'When he looks over his own work the composer really does overlook the mistakes.'" The emphasis is Beethoven's! Anderson informs us in a footnote that what is underlined in the German is a pun on the German verb übersehen, which can have one of three usages. The first is to 'look over,', as in to examine. The second meaning is to 'check thoroughly.' The third meaning is to 'overlook,' as in ignore, or neglect to see, or to miss. 22

Earlier, in this same letter, Beethoven made the rather strange claim alluded to above when he expressed his dislike of re-examining already finished works by declaring, "'I care not a jot about what I have already composed.'" 23 I would argue that this odd assertion perhaps might be related to the problem of his poor proof-reading skills, and, as such, would be a rationalization of his dislike of the task.

2) There are grounds for speculating that some of the twenty-three items cited in the Misprint List are not printer's errors; that is, they may not be typos. In this scenario, it is indeed possible B & H accurately copied what was sent to them in the fair copy. I would argue that even this situation could be related to Beethoven's inability to proof-read efficiently or efficaciously because of the possibility that Beethoven did not proofread the fair copy. 24

3) Evidence exists which indicates the Misprint List is, itself, incomplete! Two notable omissons from the Misprint List are the C-natural published by B & H at m. 36 (the Autograph has C# at m. 36-this will be discussed in more detail in Part Five), and the time signature. The Autograph has a , yet all editions have 25. Beethoven did not mention the C-natural or the time signature. A possible cause has been alluded to above, namely, Beethoven's lack of skills in proof-reading. After all, it is not unreasonable to expect him to miss something(s) in his re-reading of the published sonata.

History of publications

There are three main-or first-editions of the sonata:

  1. The first edition published by B & H, in April, 1809-it was this edition which prompted Beethoven to write his Misprint List.
  2. A second printing by B & H. This publication may perhaps have been made in response to Beethoven's letters and Misprint List, but the date of publication is not known. (It may have been in the late fall of 1809.) Kinsky and Halm, the editors of the most recent Beethoven catalogue at the time Lockwood's article was published in 1970, maintained that the second printing contained the corrections requested by Beethoven. 26 Lockwood examined two copies of an alleged second printing, and he asserts that Kinsky and Halm were not correct. He reports he saw only a few of the requested corrections inserted into the music. Lockwood adds, further, that precisely since the date of this (alleged) second printing is not known, there is no certifiable way of knowing if or whether these later printings were actually made in 1809.27 They could even have been made later on.
  3. The first edition published by Domenico Artaria, in Vienna, at the end of April, 1809.28

In addition to these three first editions, Lockwood lists, in a footnote, eight other early editions. 29 The first four are cited by Kinsky and Halm in their catalogue of Beethoven's works:

  1. Pleyel; Paris -- no date available
  2. Böhme; Hamburg, 1828 -- still carrying the incorrect opus number of 59.
  3. Dunst; Frankfurt -- no date. Kinsky and Halm claim this is the first edition in which the piano part is printed in score form. 30
  4. Monzani; London, circa 1815-all copies seem to have disappeared.

To the listing in his footnote, Lockwood adds three more early editions which he took from Nottebohm's early catalogue of the known sources of Beethoven's works: 31

  1. Cranz; Hamburg (no date)
  2. Simrock; Bonn (no date)
  3. Schott; Mainz (no date)

Finally, Lockwood adds one more printing to this listing, a copy of which is held by the New York Public Library:

  1. J. Andre; Offenbach, circa 1840.

In each of the early editions Lockwood was able to examine, he reports they carry varying degrees or amounts of errors Beethoven does not include in his Misprint List! 32 The continued existence of these errors is one of the reasons for not taking the Misprint List at face value, due to the possibility of its being incomplete.

Organization of the Misprint List

In his Misprint List, Beethoven first deals with the errors in the piano part starting with the first movement, then proceeding through the remaining three movements. Next he turns his attention to the cello errors, again working movement by movement. However, I am going to proceed through the List by movements, focusing first on the cello errors and then the piano errors. The number for each error is Lockwood's, but because of the change in order of presentation, the numbering skips around.

Errors in the First Movement

Ten of the errors cited in the Misprint List occur in the first movement: five in the cello part and five in the piano. The ten errors in the first movement are almost one-half of the errors discussed by Beethoven. For these errors and for Beethoven's requested corrections of these errors, I first compared the Misprint List with the Autograph. Then I made a comparison between the Misprint List and printed versions. All ten of the corrections Beethoven requested are now in print. The ten items Beethoven cites for the first movement fall into one of three types or categories:

Category 1The error matches what is in the Autograph-Item no. 3, in the piano (the right hand of the piano will be referred to from now on as r. h., and the left hand will be designated as l. h.)
Category 2The correction Beethoven requested matches what is in the Autograph-Item nos. 12, 13, 4, 14, 16, 1, and 2. The first five errors are in the cello part, the last two are in the piano part.
Category 3Neither the error nor the correction matches the Autograph-Item nos. 15 and 5. The first error is in the cello part, the second is in the piano part.

Category 1 B & H's error matches what is in the Autograph

Item no. 3 In the piano cadenza, at m. 12, Beethoven criticized B & H for not putting a natural sign on the second A, but he neglected to write it into the Autograph. This is shown in Example 1. 33

(Click here to view Example 1.)
Example 1. R. h., m. 12 in the Autograph

Category 2 The correction requested by Beethoven matches what is in the Autograph

The five cello errors

Item no. 12 For the cello part at m. 27, B & H printed a dotted half-note A rather than a (plain) half-note. Beethoven instructed them to delete the dot.

Item no. 13 In the cello part, at m. 64, B & H omitted the sharp sign in front of the D in the turn. Beethoven asked for the sharp sign to be reinstated.

Item no. 4 At m. 115, Beethoven wrote a ff indication for the cello and for the piano. B & H apparently printed it for the cello part, but left it out for the l. h.

Item no. 14 In the cello part, at mm. 77 and 78, B & H did not print the tie between the whole note D# at m. 77 and the subsequent D# quarter-note of m. 78. The Autograph and printed version are slightly at variance with each other: in the Autograph, the tie is clearly visible, but the octave placement of the whole note D# and the quarter-note to which it is tied is up one octave. The placement is shown below in Example 2a.

In the Misprint List, when Beethoven wrote what he wanted he neglected to repeat the sharp sign for the second quarter-note D#. This omission is shown in Example 2b. However, the publishers caught his omission and printed the needed second accidental.

(Click here to view Example 2a.)
Example 2a. Cello, mm. 77-78 in the Autograph

(Click here to view Example 2b.)
Example 2b. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint List for cello, mm. 77-78

Item no. 16 This item consists of a combination of a technical error in writing and an error with the musical content. At m. 218, in the cello part, B & H printed an E on the downbeat, as shown in Example 3a. Beethoven requested that the pitch be changed, to a C. It is interesting to note that he writes the correction into the Misprint List as depicted in Example 3b. This error is similar to Item no. 14 in that Beethoven's correction in the Misprint List, and what is in the Autograph are at variance. M. 218, as it appears in the Autograph is the way it appears in print-in the bass clef! The difficulty in making sense of Beethoven's correction is the clef. Tenor clef was not used in the early nineteenth century for the cello, so the treble clef at times was to be played as written. At other times it was to be transposed down an octave. Good judgment and some understanding of the context within which the treble clef appears are needed in order to determine which one is correct. 34

(Click here to view Example 3a.)
Example 3a. Cello, m. 218, as printed by B & H

(Click here to view Example 3b.)
Example 3b. Beethoven's correction for m. 218 in the Misprint List

The two piano errors

Item no. 1 B & H printed what is shown in Example 4 below for the l. h. at m. 7.

(Click here to view Example 4.)
Example 4. L. h., m. 7, as printed by B & H

Beethoven asked for the last eighth-note, E, to be changed to a C.

Item no. 2 In the r. h. at m. 11, B & H omitted trill signs over the two B's.

Category 3 Neither the error nor the correction matches the Autograph

Item no. 15 For the cello part at m. 165, B & H printed what is shown in Example 5a below. The Autograph is not easy to read at this spot, but we can still see that Beethoven significantly altered the octave placement, perhaps in the fair copy. I offer three possible readings of m. 165 in the Autograph in Example 5b. I will discuss m. 165 in detail in Part Six.

(Click here to view Example 5a.)
Example 5a. Cello, m. 165, as printed by B & H

(Click here to view Example 5b.)
Example 5b. M. 165 in the Autograph

In the Misprint List, Beethoven asked B & H to put in a natural sign, which is now what is in print.

Item no. 5 At m. 244, in the l. h., B & H printed what is shown in Example 6a below. (The white eighth-notes indicate an ostinato D and A eighth-notes.) In the Misprint List, Beethoven instructed B & H to change the ostinato eighth-notes to C#-A-D-A, which is what is in print. This is the same case as with Item no. 15, above, where Beethoven's requested correction is now in print. What is in the Autograph is rather different, as shown in Example 6b.

(Click here to view Example 6a.)
Example 6a. L. h., m 244, as printed by B & H

(Click here to view Example 6b.)
Example 6b. M. 244 in the Autograph

Errors in the Third Movement

For the third and fourth movements, I was only able to compare the Misprint List with printed versions. To my surprise, I found that not all of the corrections have been made according to Beethoven's instructions, only some. There are four errors cited in the Misprint List for the third movement, two in the cello line and two in the piano part. The two cello errors can still be seen in the Kalmus edition, the reprint of the Collected Works of B & H. This makes it questionable whether B & H made the corrections that Beethoven requested of them. The corrections are, however, printed in the Peters and Henle editions.

The two cello errors

Item no. 17 In the cello line at m. 5, Beethoven noticed B & H left out the slur over the two staccato marks for the D# and E sixteen-notes. His correction in the Misprint List does not have a sharp sign for D and is in the treble clef, as shown in Example 7.

(Click here to view Example 7.)
Example 7. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint List for the cello at m. 5

Item no. 18 At m. 17, for the cello, B & H apparently printed what is in Example 8a, leaving out the D# in the turn. Beethoven asked them to put it back in, so that the grace notes read as they do in Example 8b.

(Click here to view Example 8a.)
Example 8a. Cello, m. 17, as printed by B & H

(Click here to view Example 8b.)
Example 8b. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint List for the cello at m. 17

The two piano errors

Item no. 9 At m. 17, B & H printed what is shown in Example 9 below. The slur is only between the two E eighth-notes, producing possible confusion that the E should be tied, and not repeated. Beethoven instructed them to take out that slur, and to put in two other slurs, one above the r. h. and beneath the A# and B eighth-notes in the l. h..

(Click here to view Example 9.)
Example 9. L. h. m. 17, third movement as printed by B & H

Item no. 10 At m. 18, B & H omitted the arpeggiation indication for the piano. This error, and the previous error, Item no. 9, have been corrected.

Errors in the Fourth Movement

Five errors in the cello part and one in the piano part are cited in the Misprint List.

The five cello errors

Item no. 19 This error concerns a slur. At m. 4/22, 35 B & H printed what is shown in Example 10a. The slur is still retained in the Kalmus edition.

(Click here to view Example 10a.)
Example 10a. Cello, m. 4/22, as printed by B & H

For his correction, Beethoven directed that the slur should extend over beats 3 and 4 so as to include all four sixteenth-notes. This is shown in Example 10b. Beethoven's explicit instructions about this slur tell us that even if we may be tempted to to divide the bowing at this point, we should not.

(Click here to view Example 10b.)
Example 10b. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint Lists for the cello at m. 4/22

Item no. 20 Concerning m. 74/92-first bar of the first ending and of the second ending-Beethoven writes , "In the 56th measure, Dolce has been omitted. It should be added." The treatment of this dolce is not the same in all editions. In the Henle edition, dolce is printed in parentheses at the first ending and without parentheses at the second ending. In the Kalmus and Peters editions, dolce is found only at the second ending. When it is inserted into the first ending, the character of the repetition is altered, which is presumably what Beethoven wanted.

Item no. 21 At m. 64/82-Beethoven referred to this bar as the ninth bar of the second half-B & H printed what is shown in Example 11a.

(Click here to view Example 11a.)
Example 11a. Cello, m. 64/82, as printed by B & H

In asking them to correct the F# to a G#, Beethoven wrote what is shown in Example 11b, and gave explicit written instructions. He said, "In the second half of the same movement, in the ninth measure, there should be a G-sharp instead of an F-sharp, i.e., where the x has been put."

(Click here to view Example 11b.)
Example 11b. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint List for m. 64/82

Item no. 22 For m. 113/131, Beethoven indicated to B & H that they left out the cresc. marking. The editors of the Henle edition have inserted it in parentheses. In Beethoven's own words, the change in dynamics is obligatory.

Item no. 23 At m. 171/189, B & H omitted the slurs and staccato markings. Example 12 shows what Beethoven wrote in the Misprint to indicate what he wanted. In all other editions they are printed as shown in the example, but the editors of the Henle edition placed the articulation markings for the 3rd through 8th eighth-notes in parentheses.

(Click here to view Example 12.)
Example 12. Beethoven's corrections in the Misprint List for m. 171/189

The error in the piano part

The error in the piano part has been corrected in all editions.

Item no. 11 At m. 76/94 B & H did not print the slurs for the ties between the G# quarter-note and eighth-note, and between the E quarter-note and eighth-note.


You will see, in the Henle edition-without parentheses-the corrections for the first movement which Beethoven requests in his Misprint List. Interestingly, there is also a wealth of accidentals, slurs and articulation markings within the first movement placed in parentheses. I made a comparison of these parenthetical emendations with the Kalmus edition (the reprint of the B & H Collected Works), and found that whatever the editors of the Henle edition claim to have added or authenticated is already present in the B & H Collected Works. The Preface of the performing edition of the Henle edition offers no explication of or for these parentheses. Rather, the editors refer us to the volume of the Complete Works for Cello in the New Collected Edition of all of Beethoven's works Henle has been publishing. It is my contention that this is insufficient, if not irresponsible, on their part for two reasons. The first is that the Complete Works is an expensive set and is primarily available at institutional and research libraries, so not many cellists have access to it.

The other reason has to do with the way musicians tend to view parentheses. A not-uncommon view of parenthetical emenations is whatever is contained within them is of questionable authenticity. Another widely held interpretation is that playing what they contain is optional, left to personal choice. I would like to believe that the Henle editors did not intend either of these views.

At one point, I thought about how Beethoven developed his Misprint List and ran into this puzzle: what did he rely upon for verification when he examined B & H's printed version? It seemed to me rather unlikely he was able to refer to the fair copy he sent to the publishers. The reason for my thinking this was because I doubted if they had sent it back to him, since, if they had sent it back, it quite likely would have been included in the catalogue put together of his papers that were found at the time of his death. It is well-known that Beethoven was something of a packrat when it came to his sketches and papers. He threw nothing away. Hence, I think this fact alone makes it rather unlikely he would have used the fair copy for scrutinizing the printed version from B & H and then thrown away the fair copy.

So, I would argue, it is reasonable to rule out a reliance upon the fair copy, and, further, I would also argue that the twenty-one items he found when he examined what B & H had printed were simply whatever happened to catch his immediate attention. With no small touch of irony, none of the items listed, save the matter of the dynamics of the Scherzo-which he had to undo in his second letter to B & H anyway-were of any major compositional significance.

The category of errors of content in the Autograph comprises the errors of major compositional importance. But we are, as a result, faced with a conundrum. If the editors of the Henle edition are not straightforward with matters of relative insignificance, is it possible for us to accept at face value what they have to say about these errors? In the manner of the old-fashioned serialized detective stories, the answer to that question-and others-will have to wait for Part Five.


1. Lockwood, Lewis, "The Autograph of the First Movement of Beethoven's Sonata for Violoncello and Pianoforte, Opus, 69", in The Music Forum, Vol. II, edited by William J. Mitchell and Felix Salzer, New York and London, Columbia University Press, 1970.

2. Lockwood, page 39ff.

3. The term "Stage" is used to indicate Beethoven's level of compositional development within the Autograph. His very first compositional idea is identified as Stage 1, or being at Stage 1. Wherever Beethoven does not change what he wrote, that music stands intact. Where he opts for another musical idea, whether it is totally new and different material or a revising and reworking of the previous idea, that substituted material is called Stage 2. There are also places in the Autograph where materials at Stage 3 can be seen. These terms are used in detail in Part Five.

4. One example of these types of errors is the clarifying letter names g e g e which he writes into the cello staff at m. 115 in the e minor passage in the development section and which I discuss in Part Three. The basic underlying causes of many, if not all, of these errors come from Beethoven's speed in writing things down-for example, he omits a clef change-or from the not-uncommon lack of precision in his writing-where it becomes impossible, say, to read a C as a B or a D. In all of these situations, you have to use your own musical judgment to decide which it really is.

5. I sometimes jokingly describe his handwriting, for both the original ideas and the revisions, as "chicken scratches" on the page.

6. Beethoven, Sonaten Klavier und Violoncello/Urtext, edited by Bernard van der Linde, Andre Navarra, and Hans-Martin Theopold, Munich, G. Henle Verlag, 1971.

7. I have recently learned that the "Clauss" version, the lost fair copy has been discovered. The Beethoven Institut, in Bonn, Germany, has plans for publishing it in facsimile in the near future. Being able to examine it will be of inestimable help to the cello world, and to the world of Beethoven studies and scholarship. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Tim Janof and the late Dimitry Markevitch for bringing this to my attention.

8. I will begin a survey of these seven pairs of bars in Part Five.

9. By extension, such an examination will also reveal what the editors of the Henle edition did about them. However, this will have to wait for later articles in the series.

10. In his Misprint List, Beethoven refers to the Allegro Vivace as " the final movement," meaning the fourth movement. Even though current practice views the sonata as having three movements, I am following Beethoven's description in this article.

11. In those days, the piano part was not printed in score form. Each part was printed and sold separately.

12. The Letters of Beethoven, edited and translated by Emily Anderson, 3 vols., London, Macmillan; New York, St. Martin's Press, 1961.

13. Ibid., pages 233-236.

14. Ibid., page 234.

15. Ibid., pages 236-239.

16. Lockwood, pages 100-103.

17. Ibid., pages 104-105

18. Ibid., pages 106-108.

19. Anderson, page 236.

20. Ibid., footnote # 2, page 236.

21. Ibid., Letter # 221, page 236

22. Ibid., footnote # 1, page 235.

23. Ibid., page 234.

24. Some years ago, while doing research and investigation into other Beethoven sketch materials, I was able to examine the microfilm of a fair copy written in the hand of a paid copyist. Beethoven reviewed this fair copy before sending it on to the publisher, yet, in the course of his re-reading, he overlooked errors and created some new mistakes. Fortunately, his publisher was able to spot these errors and correct them.

25. The late Dimitry Markevitch shared this information with me, for which I am deeply grateful.

26. G. Kinsky and H. Halm, Das Werk Beethovens (Munich, Henle, 1955), page 165, cited in footnote 24 of Lockwood, page 29.

27. Lockwood, footnote 24, page 29; also, page 37.

28. An ancillary problem is Beethoven's other publisher, Domenico Artaria, in Vienna. Lockwood examined a copy of the Artaria first edition and found that what they published was identical to that of B & H. Lockwood does not address the means by which Artaria was able to print his first edition, nor is there anything in Beethoven's correspondence about this. I find it a point of curiosity about the relationship between Artaria and B & H and have, as a result, come up with one what seems to be an unsolvable problem. Each scenario I imagined for the means by which Artaria obtained the sonata for publication is far-fetched and unlikely, given the nature of the publishing business.

Lockwood states that Nottebohm, the first person to catalogue Beethoven's materials, and Kinsky and Halm both mention just the one single fair copy, the "Clauss" copy. Although I find that difficult to comprehend, it has to be the case, given the cost of preparing a fair copy. After all, if Beethoven did have two fair copies prepared, one for B & H, and one for Artaria, then, I would argue, it is not out of the question they might have been different from the other. Also, if there were two fair copies, it is possible that one of them might have been known over the years. However, the Artaria first edition, is identical to the first edition printed by B & H.

Assuming Beethoven had just a single fair copy prepared, the question can be asked, to whom was it sent? Also, if he had but one prepared, that situation implies and requires a degree of coöperation between the two publishers. This would mean either that whoever received the fair copy then had to send it on to the other; that, or send them a copy of their typesetting. I find both of these possibilities to be a stretch of the imagination.

29. Lockwood, footnote 25, page 29.

30. Ibid., also footnote 25, page 29.

31. Gustav Nottebohm, Thematisches Verzeichnis der im Druck erschienen Werke von Ludwig van Beethoven (Leipzig, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1868) [the page number was not cited], from Lockwood, footnote 25, page 29.

32. Lockwood, page 37.

33. Beethoven wrote the key signature into the Autograph just one time, at m. 1, and did not write a key signature into the examples he included in the Misprint List. I am following his practice, and do not give it for the examples in this article.

34. The previous bar, m. 217, and especially m. 80, its counterpart in the exposition, offer a nice lesson in errors of content. Both bars were reworked many times by Beethoven, m. 80 more than m. 217, yet what Beethoven left in the Autograph for the cello line of m. 217 is not what is in print. The two bars will be examined in detail in Part Five.

35. Dual measure numbers are provided for the Fourth Movement. The first -- lower -- number follows Beethoven's numbering. As stated in Endnote # 10 above, he refers to the Allegro Vivace as "the final movement." The second -- larger -- number is a continuation from the Third Movement, found in most modern versions.

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(This article has been re-printed with the kind permission of Charlotte Lehnhoff and The Chicago Cello Society. It was originally published in Volume V, no. 4 of The Cello Scroll, the newsletter of the Chicago Cello Society, in July 1987.)

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