THE BEETHOVEN A MAJOR SONATA: A CLOSER LOOK -- PART FIVE

DISCREPANCIES—I

by Charlotte Lehnhoff

As I reported in Part Four, Lewis Lockwood examined seven corresponding passages in the exposition and recapitulation sections of the first movement of the A Major sonata in his study of the Autograph of the first movement and noticed a discrepancy with each set of bars. 1 The contents of these pairs of bars should be parallel and in agreement with each other, but he observed a misfit between the contents of these bars in the Autograph and in printed editions. There are many ways, in terms of harmonies, treatment of thematic materials, and structure, that recapitulation sections can differ from exposition sections, but Lockwood's concern was not over such issues. What drew his attention to these seven sets of bars is the discrepancy:

  1. the music in the bars in the exposition and recapitulation are parallel in print, but in the Autograph the music is not in agreement;
  2. the music in the bars in the exposition and recapitulation are not in agreement in print, but in the Autograph the music is parallel.

These seven passages are:

  1. mm. 25-26 in the exposition and mm. 164-165 in the recapitulation;
  2. mm. 33-34, and mm. 170-171;
  3. mm. 35-36, and mm. 172-173;
  4. mm. 37-45, and mm. 174-182;
  5. mm. 65-76, and mm. 202-213;
  6. mm. 77-78, and mm. 214-215;
  7. mm. 80 & 82, and mm. 217 & 219.

I am going to discuss these sets of bars, not in the order Lockwood cited (as they appear in the Autograph) but in order of increasing complexity in terms of Beethoven's revisions and the relationship between the revisions and what is in print. In this article I will discuss two of the sets from the list above, # 3, mm. 35-36 in the exposition section, and mm. 172-173 in the recapitulation section; and # 7, the last set in the list, mm. 80 & 82, and mm. 217 & 219.

Revisions in the Autograph

Even though revisions are found within each of the set of bars listed above, the materials were not changed in the same amount, nor in the same way, nor even at the same time. In some places it is not difficult to figure out a sequence of events; that is, what Beethoven's very first thoughts were; what his initial changes were; what was changed subsequent to the first changes, and so on. But for some other passages, trying to develop a sequence can leave you feeling you're in the midst of a good mystery novel.

Some of the materials are straightforward, and some are not, as we will see. We can find music written at Stage 1—Beethoven's original thought(s)—which is left alone, not revised, and going directly to print. 2 In addition, there is a considerable amount of music dating from Stage 1 which is not revised, but does not resemble what we play and teach. If that's not enough, the same condition holds true for the revisions. Some of them are in print, while some of them bear little, if any, resemblance what we are familiar with. You may find it helpful or useful to refer to your own copy when you read about these passages.

Understanding and interpreting transcriptions

When we compare what we have in print with what is in the Autograph, especially when it differs from what is in print, we might find ourselves making the judgment that what is in print is better than the first thought or the unfamiliar revision. Such a judgment has merit to it. A word of caution may be useful here, though, about how or why what is in print may be better (although, as I will discuss below, occasionally what is in print might be incorrect). A point to keep in mind about what makes what's in print "better": the printed version isn't "better" because we are familiar with it, nor is it the case that there is something inherently wrong, inferior, or misguided about Beethoven's thoughts as they appear in the Autograph. You see, there is nothing inherent to indicate, in advance, that Beethoven might not leave something as it is, rather than subjecting it to (more) revision(s).

Beethoven struggled with each and every note he wrote. His subjecting materials, any material, to revision(s) reflects his dissatisfaction with what he wrote. 3 Trying to discern the reason or reasons why he felt the need to alter or revise his initial thought, or not, as the case may be, helps us get to the heart of his creative and compositional processes. Once in a while it may be possible to get a glimpse or glimmer of the problem(s) he perceived and how he tried to solve them.

An example of how to understand his changes can be seen by what he did with the e minor passage in the development section, which I discussed in Part Two. In the development section, Beethoven's revisions consisted of switching the cello line with the left hand of the piano (from now on, the left hand will be referred to as l. h., and the right hand will be referred to as r. h.). This switching of parts reveals Beethoven's interests in timbre, range, and register. What we do know is that Beethoven was not satisfied with his original scheme. What we do not know is the reason or cause of his dissatisfaction with the timbre of his first version of the e minor passage.

We can't anticipate that something can, or might, or will be changed. Our understanding of revisions can only take place in retrospect, in hindsight, because we can only know that something was changed.

SET # 3—MM. 35-36 AND 172-173

The Henle edition of the Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano 4 constituted the latest and most up-to-date contribution to the ongoing efforts of providing an accurate reading for the five sonatas at the time it was published. In the twentieth-century, there were some other important editions of the sonatas. Perhaps you own a copy of one of them: the editions of Donald Francis Tovey and Percy Such; 5 Leo Schulz; 6 Walter Schulz; 7 Leonard Rose. 8 The editors of the Henle edition had a pronounced advantage over all other versions in making their editorial emendations to the A Major Sonata, thanks to the publication of the facsimile of the Autograph of the first movement and Lockwood's study of it. No other editors have seen it.

In their Preface, the Henle editors announced two major changes in the A Major Sonata in response to Lockwood's study. One of them was for the dynamic markings in the second movement, which I discussed in Part One. We have to be eternally grateful to Lockwood for his careful and patient study and scholarship. He was the first person in the history of Beethoven studies to make a correlation between (a) the Misprint List which Beethoven sent to Breitkopf & Härtel (referred to from now on as B & H) in Leipzig, on August 1, 1809, and (b) Beethoven's subsequent follow-up correcting letter on August 3, 1809. In the latter letter, Beethoven reversed, that is he undid, his instructions in the Misprint List regarding the dynamic markings for the second movement.

Many editions and collections of Beethoven's letters have been published over the years, in the original German and in English translation. Quite a few contain the follow-up letter of August 3, 1809. The first editor of Beethoven's letters to include the Misprint List was Emily Anderson, in her translation and collection. 9 The original Misprint List has been available in Bonn, Germany, at the Beethoven Institut. It is part of the Bodmer Collection.

The other change the editors of the Henle edition made is item # 3 from the list above. In the Autograph at m. 36 a sharp sign is written in front of the C. The same is true for m. 173. where you will find a sharp sign in front of the F. Both of these bars are at Stage 1, left completely alone, no revisions whatsoever. It is about as pristine as you will find in the Autograph. In all editions prior to the Henle edition, m. 36 has C-natural. For m. 36, the Henle editors changed the C-natural to C#.

The reason, or reasons, why most, but not all, editions have C-natural at mm. 35 and 36, and F-natural at m. 172 followed by F# at m. 173 is not fully understood. Lockwood makes the observations that this condition is the case with the first edition published by B & H and in the B & H Collected Works. 10 Even though the Autograph has C# at m. 36, putting that bar into agreement with m. 173, Beethoven didn't mention the C-natural in his Misprint List he sent to B & H. Tovey, according to Lockwood, was the first editor to discuss in writing the discrepancy between the C-natural at m. 36 and the F# at m. 173. Tovey made the comment in a footnote in his edition that " 'the passage is not referred to in [Beethoven's] own list of misprints…' " and he continues, " '…the question [of what is correct] must remain open.' " 11 Tovey opted for putting F-natural at m. 173. 12 The condition in this set of bars, as Tovey has them, was adhered to by other twentieth-century editors. The Peters edition, edited by Walter Schulz, has C-natural at both mm. 35 & 36 and F-natural at mm. 172 & 173. The Rose edition, published by International Music Co. is the same as the Peters edition. Lockwood surmises that the compound error may have started with the G. Schirmer edition. 13

An even earlier edition of the sonatas published by Henry Litolff in Braunschweig also has C-natural at mm. 35 & 36, and F-natural at mm. 172 & 173. This edition was revised by J. A. Leibrock and edited by E. Steinhage and Clemens Schultze-Biesantz. Joseph Adolph Leibrock (1808-1886) was a cellist, composer, and writer about music. 14 Because of his dates, I would argue it is quite possible the Litolff edition predates the Schirmer edition, and perhaps was the model that Leo Schulz relied upon. I haven't been able to ascertain what sources Leibrock relied upon, nor why he changed F# at m. 173, as it was printed in the B & H Collected Works, to F-natural. As a result of the changes made in the Henle edition, C# at m. 36 is now accepted as the correct accidental, as is F# at m. 173, insofar as we understand that that sharp sign represents Beethoven's last intention. Nevertheless, it is possible the question of C# at m. 36 is not a closed matter. One way to resolve the matter of what belongs at m. 36, a C# or a C-natural, is to examine the fair copy. When this article was originally published in The Cello Scroll, in May, 1990, the status of the fair copy was still considered as lost. Its existence has now been confirmed, and we are all awaiting publication of the facsimile, by the Beethoven Institut, in Bonn.

Some thoughts come to mind in contemplating what we will see. It seems to me if the fair copy contains C# at m. 36 we are still left with two questions. The first one is, how or for what reason or reasons did B & H print a C-natural at m. 36? The second is, why didn't Beethoven include the C-natural in his Misprint List? On the other hand, should the fair copy contain a C-natural at m. 36, then what is correct? The fair copy? The Autograph, with its C#? The first edition of B & H, containing a C-natural? The Henle edition? In either case, because there are still questions, I would argue, the matter of the C# may still be open to question, whereas the dynamics for the Scherzo are a settled matter. 15

SET # 7—MM.80 & 82, AND MM. 217 & 219

Lockwood describes and discusses the musical and writing contents of the two bars in the exposition section, mm. 80 and 82; he does not offer transcriptions for the four bars. The complications within these bars provide an illustration of technical errors in writing and how it is possible to trace out a sequence of events. The final version of the complete contents for three of the four bars in this set are now in print: mm. 80, 82, and 219, along with the piano part for m. 217. The chart below shows when each component part took on its final shape (the right hand of the piano is referred to from now on as r.h., and the left hand is referred to from now on as l.h.). There are three categories of changes for these four bars.

UPPER CASE BOLD—Materials that went straight to print, with no revisions.—Stage One.

Italics Upper and lower case—Materials revised one time, then went straight to print—Stage Two.

UPPER CASE BOLD AND ITALICS—One item. M. 80, the cello line.

m. 80 m. 82 m. 217 m. 219
CELLO * Cello ** cello *** CELLO
R.H. R.H. R.H. R.H.
L.H. L. h. L. h. L.H.

* Beethoven struggled considerably with the harmonic direction and thrust of the cello line, at m. 80, in addition to experimentations with its rhythmic energy and its contour, or melodic shape. He also struggled with the cello line in its counterpart in the recapitulation, m. 217. Trying to figure out what he did as well as when he made his changes in both bars falls within the category of technical errors, which I described in Part Four.

I am using the word "error" here in two ways. One of them is related to Beethoven's difficulties in writing materials down in a way that later on will require clarification. M. 80 contains examples of this kind of problem. The other has to do with the possibility, when trying to trace a sequence of events, of attributing materials to an earlier or later point of development. A corollary to tracing a sequence, as we will see, is how it might be possible to completely overlook some materials.

** The cello line of measure 82 was revised just one time, while Beethoven was still working on the exposition. His alteration of that bar satisfied him, 16 so when he arrived at m. 219 in the recapitulation he simply transferred the Stage 2 rewrite of m. 82 to m. 219.

*** The cello line of m. 217 does not fall into any of the three categories, because, even after all of Beethoven's struggles with it, it does not resemble what is in print. Tracing out what Beethoven did—or may have done—to and with the cello line requires a separate examination, the latter part of this article.

You may want to try playing each of the following transcriptions of all the various versions for these bars to see what sort of effect they have upon the sonata, as well as upon you.

1. THE FOUR/SIX VERSIONS OF M. 80

Rather than trying to distinguish between identifiable stages of composition, that is, when it is clearly obvious what material preceded something else, as well as what came first, what came second, etc., Lockwood prefers to label what he observes as "versions" and cites a total of four versions. Three of them are inside the bar itself. The fourth version is on the blank or empty staff down below the staff for the l.h. 17 This fourth version is what is in print, but is an octave lower. In his comments about these four versions, Lockwood does not try to establish a sequence of events for when each one was created.

I saw what I think are two more versions. One of them is inside the bar, bringing the total of versions within the bar to four instead of three. The other version is quite curious, and is highly unusual for Beethoven, because it is not in a staff but appears to be scribbled into the space up above the staff for the cello line. Since the notes for this version aren't on lines and in spaces they can't really be intended to denote specific pitches. I think the function of this version is exploratory, as I will discuss below. These different versions, as I discuss below, were not written with one version immediately succeeding the previous one. Rather, ascertaining when each occurred, or may have occurred, is part of the mystery. Plus, it is a lot of fun to try to develop a time line!

Group 1

The first version of m. 80 is brief. It consists of a set of triplets set in the middle of the bar, depicted here in Example 1 18 within the context of the otherwise empty bar. 19 This triplet has B as the starting note for a scalar line.


Example 1. Lockwood's initial version of m. 80 in the Autograph

Beethoven did not complete his scalar line. At some point in time he scratched out his first version (Ex. 1) and began a new version, shown in Example 2. He set this version—having D# as its starting note —physically to the right of the single triplet of Example 1 and ran the new line all the way up to the edge of the bar line. The goal note of the scalar line is the G# on beat 1 of m. 81. An interesting feature of this new version is the initial triplet. It is still there but Beethoven transformed it into beat 3. Another point of interest with this example is a reliance upon repeated notes for creating rhythmic impetus and energy. The version shown in Example 2 was also scratched out at some point in time. 20


Example 2. First reworking of m. 80—Lockwood's second version

Group 2

I would argue that the next four versions of m. 80 are the by-product of Beethoven's rewrites for mm. 82 and 217, rather than following hard on the heels of his first two versions (Exx. 1 and 2). The revisions for mm. 82 and 217 created new problems for Beethoven which necessitated his returning several times to the cello line for m. 80 to continue his search for a line to solve his harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic problems.

Example 3 shows what I think might be a third version, one of the two I found. I find its appearance puzzling. Examining it offers an illustration of some of the factors taken into consideration when you make an assessment of what you see in a manuscript. It looks as if it is written faintly into the space above the staff, although a case can also be made that what looks like a set of notes perhaps might be nothing more than an extension of the stems of the triplets for Example 2 going considerably past the beams of the triplets.

Yet when you take into account Beethoven's writing style and look at the way he wrote any kind of notes requiring beams (groups of two or more notes with rhythmic values smaller than a quarter-note), his stems really stop at or very close to the beams. What I see in the space above the staff is a series of lines that could be interpreted as stems for notes. The tops, or tips, of these lines could be noteheads. 21

And, if that isn't enough, exactly how many notes there are is debatable. Whatever is there, which I have decided to label a version, isn't scratched out. Above this version is a peculiar squiggly line, a part of which has a configuration that looks like a strange flat sign, or a quite odd letter b. 22 The letter does not resemble clarifying letters found in many places in Beethoven's manuscripts; it might be nothing more than a combination of one of the vertical lines which extend way past the beam for the triplets plus the squiggly line plus one of the lines from Beethoven's scratching out what is in version 2 (Ex. 2). If what's there is some sort of approximation of notes, then, it seemed to me, Beethoven may have been considering just the contour of the scale, testing out an idea with no repeated notes.


Example 3. Second reworking of m. 80, set as a scale : Beethoven's experimentation—
Third version (Lehnhoff)

Following his little experiment with his third version, Beethoven tried out the other version which I found, shown in Example 4. This version is superimposed 23 on top of the reworking shown in Ex. 2 by Beethoven's changing the noteheads. It has three features which make it different from the second version (Ex. 2).

  1. It consists of a straightforward scale, with no repeated notes;
  2. it goes past the goal note of G# and returns to it.;
  3. it has a clarifying letter a which matches his other a's elsewhere on the page and in the Autograph.

Quite likely he wrote it in because the actual notes his first reworking of m. 80 (Ex. 2), could be misleading. The last note, the pitch A, is very close to the bar line. The clarifying letter a is located to the immediate right of the strange letter b, or flat sign (Ex. 3), and is placed above the last note of the last triplet. You will also notice that the pitches for the triplet of the first version (Ex. 1), B, C# and D#, while still present in the scale, no longer have the same rhythmic orientation. They are now distributed between beats 2 and 3.


Example 4. Third reworking of m. 80, set as a scale—Fourth version (Lehnhoff)

The clarifying letter a

I think the placement of this written a may have come about via a three-step process, which itself is not necessarily directly sequential. It is not out of the question that yet more or other compositional actions occurred and that it was some of those other steps which necessitated Beethoven's using a clarifying letter. The chart below suggests one possible scenario.

Step one—Example 3
Beethoven experiments with basic idea for his anticipated revision of the first revision (Ex. 2).

Step two

Disruption in time sequence—goes back to work on recapitulation
Does not scratch out Ex. 2 while working in recapitulation

Step three—Example 4

Beethoven changes the noteheads of first revision (Ex. 2), places the revisions on top of the earlier notes which are no longer clear, and writes in clarifying letter a.

The next version, shown in Example 5, is the third of the versions Lockwood finds inside the bar, and which I think is Beethoven's fifth try at developing a cello line that meets his requirements for harmonic direction, and rhythmic and melodic contour. It is crammed all the way over to the far left-hand side of the bar, to the left of the first version (Ex. 1). It begins in the same way as does the first version, with the triplet B, C#, D#. Unlike the scalar run of Example 2, this version has no repeated notes, it has the chromatic inflection of A, followed by A#, and considerably exceeds the goal note of G#. Notice, also, the last note of m. 80 in this version—A! This version is not crossed out; also, it looks like it was written with a different ink, of a darker color, and written with a pen nib thicker than the other four versions.


Example 5. Fourth reworking of m. 80—Lockwood's third version /Fifth version (Lehnhoff)

The last, and final version, shown in Example 6, is the one written on the blank staff beneath the staff for the left hand. You will note there are stems just for the third beat. Two other features are also worth noticing:

  1. the absence of a sharp sign for D which is the last note of the triplet for beat 1;
  2. the grace note for beat 3.
With this grace note, and the presence of the stems just for beat 3, Beethoven seemed to be trying to create yet more emphasis or focus upon the goal note of G#. The music is written in a delicate, light hand.


Example 6. Fifth reworking of m. 80—Lockwood's fourth version /Sixth version (Lehnhoff)

2. MEASURE 82

Beethoven's revisions of m. 82 consisted of a change in harmonic direction, not of contour or outline. The clarifying letter names in m. 82, shown in Example 7, are the names of the notes now in print. It is not out of the question that Beethoven began m. 82 on G#, and not on E, if we are to judge by his revisions of its harmonic direction. He probably wrote a complete scale which exceeded the goal note of C#. At some point, he decided he wanted a direct run for it instead. The result of such a change is to make the direct run in m. 82 similar to the second version of m. 80 (Ex. 2) which does not exceed its goal note, although m. 80 has repeated notes. M. 82 also shares a similarity with the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4) by virtue of having no repeated notes, but the scalar run in Example 4 exceeds the goal note.

The (revised) first note, the (new) E, is not written at a distance from the bottom line of the staff as I have shown it in the example. Rather, it is pushed up against the bottom line and is superimposed on top of whatever Beethoven originally wrote. This method of changing the notes is similar to the way the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4) was written on top of the second version (Ex. 2). The noteheads for E and F# are written in a darker ink with perhaps a different pen nib and their size is large enough to make it impossible to see what the original notes were. The rest of the (new) notes are not darker and seem to be written with the same pen nib as the notes that are crossed out. The contour of a straightforward scalar line, with no notes repeated, was left intact.

The change in harmonic direction might be an instance of a technical error, insofar as Beethoven meant to start on E, but miswrote, and had to make changes. It could also be an error of musical thought. That is, he realized the direction in which he was headed wasn't where he wanted to be after all, and changed the notes.

You might find it interesting to play both versions, the one with the letter names, and the one beginning on G#.


Example 7. Beethoven's initial version of m. 82 and his changes in that bar

Comparisons between m. 80 and m. 82
I have already noted similarities and differences between m. 82 and the two versions of m. 80. It is possible and perhaps tempting to view such similarities and differences between the second and fourth versions of m. 80, in their internal contours and endings, as indicating that Beethoven wrote the music of the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4) in real time before creating the two versions of m. 82 (Ex. 7). But this is not necessarily the case. He could have let the second version (Ex.2) stand, and then written m. 82 (Ex. 7).

The contents of m. 82 may have prompted him to rethink the contour of the scale at m. 80 with its repeated notes, coming to feel he did not want the two bars to be dissimilar; that is, m. 82 would consist of a direct scale while m. 80 would have repeated notes. In such a scenario, Beethoven returned to m. 80 for the purpose of changing his second version (Ex. 2)—perhaps via another reworking.

This is where Example 3, if there is an Example 3, may enter the picture. Actually, it doesn't make any difference whether he experimented or went directly to a full rewrite. At some point Beethoven would have come up with his fourth version (Ex. 4), but once again, he created another problem for himself. By eliminating the repeated notes, this newest version took him beyond the goal note of G#! 24

3. MEASURE 217

Lockwood doesn't discuss the bars in the recapitulation and leaves not just transcriptions up to the reader, but also any observations about their contents. The extent of the work with the cello line at m. 217 is not as great as at m. 80, but there is more there than simply a Stage 1, and a single Stage 2 reworking which is what is in m. 82 (Ex. 7). I found four versions of the cello line at m. 217, plus a possible fifth version as well. Unlike the Eand F# at m. 82, where, for all practical purposes, it is impossible to figure out what the earlier or original notes might have been, here, at m. 217, it is possible to see other notes underneath. To appreciate the contents of m. 217, it may be helpful to understand one aspect of Beethoven's notewriting procedures.

Beethoven's handwriting
He often wrote notes "backwards." That is, his notes are little more than inflections at the top—sometimes bottom—of a stem. His notehead and stem are all of a piece, created by putting the tip of his pen on a line, or in a space, not always accurately, and pulling downward or upward. In some places, the shape of the noteheads is slightly more rounded than at others. In m. 217, the original noteheads are like "chicken scratches". Example 8a is my attempt at depicting how, when you look at a manuscript, it may not be immediately clear if the notes are B-C-D or C-D-E. Context will sometimes help.


Example 8a. Beethoven's way of writing noteheads.

When Beethoven superimposed a new note on top of an earlier notes he made the new notehead rounder and darker, as he did with the E and F# at m. 82. Example 8b shows two possible ways new notes can be superimposed upon original notes.


Example 8b. New notes superimposed on previous noteheads.

THE FOUR (FIVE?) VERSIONS OF M. 217
Version 1
The first version of m. 217, shown in Example 9, has repeated notes and resembles the second version of m. 80 (Ex. 2), although the position of the repeated notes within the scalar run is not the same as in m. 80. The triplet on the first beat is somewhat curious, because it is not truly scalar. This run exceeds the goal note of C#, causing this version to have a feature in common with the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4). There, the line exceeded the goal note of G#. At some point, Beethoven crossed out the triplet B-C#-D of beat 4.


Example 9. Version # 1 of m. 217

Version 2
Beneath the stems, it is possible to discern an alternative version starting on A, rather than G#, with different notes for the triplet on beat 3. This alternative version, shown in Example 10, is written in lightly and delicately, as if Beethoven were tentatively trying something out. The noteheads of this version look like inflections superimposed onto the stems. 25 The ending of this version also goes up to D, which means the notes of the run exceed the goal note of C#. In this regard, this version also resembles what I think is the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4).


Example 10. Changes of Version # 1 at m. 217

Versions 3 and 4

I think there are yet two more attempts at working on the triplets for beats 3 and 4, shown in Examples 11a and 11b. The triplet B-C#-B on beat 4 appears to be one possible solution of finding a way for a B to move directly to C# because the new triplet produces the effect of either a turn or, perhaps a written-out mordent. In either case, Beethoven created an emphasis upon the two pitches Band C#.


Example 11a. Alternative change # 1 for Version # 1 at m. 217


Example 11b. Alternative change # 2 for Version # 1 at m. 217

I would argue that two different cases can be posited for the first reworking of the scale at m. 217 to begin on an A (Ex. 10). Argument # 1 is that to start on an A requires—or allows for—more repeated notes than a scale starting on G#. The merit of repeated notes lies in how they increase or enhance the rhythmic energy of a scale. Argument # 2 in support of the scale starting on A has to do with Stage 2 for m. 217, which I will discuss below.

With both arguments, either the original scale of m. 217, starting on G#, (Ex. 9), or the subsequent versions, starting on A, (Exx. 10 and 11a & 11b), the repeated notes make or cause them to resemble the second version of m. 80 (Ex. 2).

Version 5
When trying to develop and make sense of a sequence of events, it is vital to take into consideration a critical technical point about Beethoven's compositional procedures. Whenever he transferred music from the exposition section to the recapitulation section, he did not transfer the original version if it had been revised. He transferred the last revised version. In the present case, this means he let stand the first reworking of m. 80, the second version, (Ex. 2), and the third reworking, the fourth version, (Ex. 4) as he proceeded through his work on the first movement in the Autograph. They could not have been crossed out.

It seemed to me that when Beethoven arrived at m. 217 in the recapitulation, the counterpart of m. 80 in the exposition section, his first impulse was to create an amalgam of the two versions of m. 80 (Exx. 2 and 4), which I take to mean that Examples 5 and 6, the fifth and sixth versions, did not yet exist when Beethoven initially started working on the bars in the recapitulation. I would also argue Beethoven was not yet satisfied with his first solution consisting of a combination of the second and fourth versions of m. 80, for he wrote in a second, quite different version for m. 217, shown in Example 12.


Example 12. Version # 2 of m. 217

I think the procedure for creating this newest version consisted of four steps but I cannot specify with any degree of certainty about the order in which they occurred. Hence, the numbering should not be interpreted as a listing of priority or primacy. 26

  1. Beethoven wrote a new beat 1, placing it to the left of beat 1of the versions shown in Examples 9 and 10.
  2. He superimposed the triplet for beat 2 of the new version upon what had been the triplet for beat 1 in the earlier versions, and the triplet for beat 4 of the new version makes use of beat 3 of Examples 9 and 10.
  3. Due to the notes for new beats 2-4 having been superimposed upon what had been beats 1-3, he wrote in clarifying letter names for beats 2 through 4. 27 The need for clarifying letter names is, I think, easy to understand: Beethoven first tried to fill in, or rewrite, the noteheads already there, in much the same way as he had tried with the stems for the original and alternative versions of m. 217 (Exx. 9 and 10), and for the noteheads for the second and fourth versions of m. 80. It got messy, so Beethoven gave up his efforts at changing the noteheads, and just put in letter names, figuring the actual notes would be written as he wanted in the fair copy, to be prepared later on.
  4. He crossed out the triplet B-C#-D on beat 4 of his first version (Ex. 9).

Because the first note of the triplet on beat 2 is an A, I do not think it is out of the question that the changes made for the first version (Ex. 10) really could have the run starting on A, not on G#.

THE MEANING OF, OR REASON(S) BEHIND THE CHANGES

Let us momentarily assume that Beethoven's original first note at m. 217 was the G# shown in Example 9, and that at some point he switched the first note downwards to an E (Ex. 12). This harmonic alteration corresponds to the harmonic alteration between:

1. D# —the second and fourth versions of m. 80 (Exx. 2 and 4);

and

2. B—the fifth and sixth versions of m. 80 (Exx. 5 and 6).

The harmonic alteration between G# and E does not correspond to the alteration of:

1. B—the original first note of m. 80 (Ex. 1);

and

2. D#—the first revisions of the starting note for m. 80 (Exx. 2 and 4).

As you can see, Beethoven altered his initial thought harmonically by changing the first note upwards by a Major 3rd, 28 whereas the original first note in m. 217, G#, was pushed downwards by a Major 3rd to E. Hence, the correlation of the second and fourth versions of m. 80 to the original and first alternative versions of m. 217 (Exx. 9 through 11b) was off by one level of development. Right from the start the bars in the exposition and recapitulation which correspond to each other—m. 80 and m. 217—were not in sync!

I find it curious that the first real revision of m. 217 (Ex. 12), in its contour and melodic shape, internally and at its ending, is the same as Stage 2 for m. 82 (Ex. 7). I have not been able to come up with a reason that satisfactorily explains Beethoven's reasons for doing this. It seems clear enough, though, that, once he realized mm. 80 and 217 did not mesh, he returned to the exposition to change m. 80 to make it start on B. That had been his very first thought for the bar, as shown in Example 1. And it also seems clear that, no sooner did he change the starting pitch, he found he was stuck. A straightforward scale starting on B with no repeated notes cannot go to the goal note of G# at m. 81. It has to go past it. I would argue that it is this realization which may have prompted Beethoven to develop the fifth and sixth versions of m. 80 (Exx. 5 and 6).

Such a scenario also helps explain why the fifth version, located on the far left-hand side of the bar was not crossed out, and it can take into account why the sixth version, with its light penmanship and absence of stems, is so tentative. The writing conditions in Examples 5 and 6 are an indication of Beethoven's uncertainty and indecision about them. I think it is also possible to explain why Beethoven did not cross out the cello line at m. 217. He may have wanted one more opportunity for rethinking the efficacy of:

1. an amalgam of his second and fourth versions of m. 80, with the encircling of the goal note;

and/or

2. the direct scale, taken from m. 82.

What can we understand of Beethoven's struggles with m. 217? Why all these versions—not as many, to be sure, as in m. 80—after his struggles with m. 80? Why didn't he simply transfer the contour of what is in Example 2 or in Example 4? Why did he try out a version from m. 82? What is in print for m. 80, the sixth version, does not appear in the recapitulation. Does that mean we should play what is in Example 11 for m. 217 and not play what is in print? What about the octave placement for the last version of m. 80? How should we play that? In his Misprint List Beethoven did not mention the contents of the cello line at m. 217, nor did he cite the cello line at m. 80 which was up an octave from what is in the Autograph. He wasn't a good proofreader, and he admitted to not being able to remember he writes once it leaves his desk, because his mind turned to new and other ideas.

Why is the printed version different from the Autograph? I thought of three possibilities.

  1. under Beethoven's direction and supervision, both bars were changed in the fair copy;
  2. both bars were changed in the fair copy by the paid copyist, not per Beethoven's instructions, but Beethoven did not catch the changes, and his publisher printed what is in the fair copy;
  3. the fair copy contains what is in the Autograph, but Beethoven's editor at B & H changed the two bars and Beethoven did not catch that either.

With the second and third scenarios, what is in print would then be wrong! But since Beethoven said nothing about the contents of these two bars, we have to rely upon the earliest printed editions as reflecting his intentions. Until we are able to examine the fair copy, we have no way of knowing what happened to m. 80 or its counterpart, m. 217, if anything happened at all, but, given the alternative explanations I have discussed here, we cannot know whether the fair copy is correct.

In future articles I will continue the examination of the other five passages in the exposition and recapitulation that are not in agreement, and will give a report on a study that has come to my attention which examines articulation markings within the Autograph and compares them with printed versions.

ENDNOTES

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. I described Lockwood's use of the terms "Stage 1" and "Stage 2" in Part Four. Using these terms allows Lockwood to indicate Beethoven's level of compositional development within the Autograph. Beethoven's initial musical thought Lockwood calls Stage 1. If Beethoven does not change what he writes, the music stands intact. Where and when he opts for another musical idea, he puts in something else. It might be something completely new and different, or could be a revised and reworked version of his first thoughts. This new material Lockwood calls Stage 2. In some places in the Autograph, a Stage 3 can be seen, as can various reworkings of material that Lockwood does not label a "Stage". In Part Four I also discussed some of the writing procedures Beethoven uses when putting in his substitutions.

3. Mozart, as is well known, seems to have been able to examine, weigh out, and work out all possibilities in his head. He wrote down his ideas only when they were complete. That wasn't the case with Beethoven.

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

5. Augener, London, 1918.

6. G. Schirmer, New York, 1905.

7. C. F. Peters, New York

8. International Edition, New York,

9. The Letters of Beethoven, edited and translated by Emily Anderson, 3 vols., London, Macmillan; New York, St. Martin's Press, 1961. The Misprint List was not included in the collections I have been able to examine, except Anderson's.

10. Lockwood, page 45.

11. Lockwood, quoting Tovey, footnote 46, page 46.

12, On the basis of the comment Tovey made in his footnote, it is not out of the question that he may have studied the Misprint List, perhaps when he was in Germany in 1907. He did not make a change in the dynamic markings in the second movement; for this he cannot be faulted since it was Lockwood who made the connection between the subsequent follow-up correcting letter of August 3 and the Misprint List.

13. Lockwood, footnote 45, page 45.

14. Edmund S. J. Van Der Straeten, History of the Violoncello, The Viol Da Gamba, Their Precursors and Collateral Instruments, London, William Reeves, 1914, pages 400-401. Van der Straeten gives Leibrock's name as Joseph Adam Leibrock. I was informed by the late Dimitry Markevitch, quoting from Oscar Thompson's Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians, that Leibrock's middle name is Adolph.

15. As I observed in the discussion of the dynamic marking in Part One, the Henle editors reversed Beethoven's intentions a propos the dynamic markings in the Scherzo and whether there should be a natural sign or a sharp sign at m. 36. For the dynamic markings in the Scherzo it is, indeed, a cut-and-dried case. Beethoven wanted a p to be followed immediately by a ff. Period. No questions asked. Yet the editors, in their Preface, said of the Scherzo that "the whole question must remain open...," when the matter of the C# or the C-natural at m. 36 is the question that must remain open.

16. This bar offers an insight into knowing when Beethoven was satisfied with his alteration. As stated above, what is in print is identical to Stage 2.

17. See Part Two for a description of Beethoven's method for blocking out each page before he started writing.

18. Beethoven wrote the key signature in the Autograph only at m. 1. I am following his practice and will not provide key signatures for the examples in this article.

19. Beethoven almost always centered the first beat for each measure for Stage 1 in the visual middle of the bar, not just here in the Autograph, but in many of his manuscripts. He did so to allow himself sufficient writing space for any subsequent alterations of the first beat, or for anything else he might do. The open space between the bar line and the Stage 1 first beat was usually enough to allow him to rewrite, if need be, the entire measure in that space. This fact, concerning the placement of the Stage 1 first beat, has important analytical implications for the study of Beethoven sketches, because anything written in the far left-hand side of a bar is almost always located there because it is a second, or third, or fourth, etc. , thought.

20. The triplet on beat 4 of Example 2 looks as if it had been scratched out two times.

21. The manner by which Beethoven writes his notes has more significance later on in this article.

22. Lockwood didn't mention the squiggly line. In his Appendices to the essay, he listed all the extraneous non-musical notations, writing, and symbols in the Autograph, including such things as clarifying letter names, squiggly lines elsewhere in the Autograph. This one may have escaped his usually keen eye.

23. This is an example of notes being corrected without crossing out what was first there. This method of correction was discussed in Part Four.

24. The change Beethoven made in m. 82 offers us a nice example of his harmonic vocabulary. There are places in his music where he creates a long-range and over-arching relationship to the tonic. There are also many places where his focus shifts to an emphasis upon a "local" tonic, not necessarily a modulation, but a quite temporary establishment of a different key for chromatic coloring. In the present instance, the change in the starting pitch of the scale at m. 80 is significant.

In the first version of m. 80 (Ex. 1) the scale begins on B. Beethoven's first reworking (Ex. 2) begins the scale on D# , a change of a Major 3rd up (or minor 6th down). The reworking of m. 82 (Ex. 7) moves in the opposite direction, a major 3rd down, because his first note, probably covered over by the E, presumably is G#. With a scale at m. 80 starting on D# and the scale at m. 82 starting on E, the harmonic focus is upon the secondary dominant V/V to V (D# resolving to E). The harmonic relationship in print projects, instead, the tonic A, via a stretched-out and long-range dominant, by means of B, at m. 80, moving down to E, at m. 82. These relationships are shown in the example below.


Comparison of harmonic implications in m. 80 to m. 82

Lastly, had the first reworking of m. 80 (Ex. 2) constituted Beethoven's final version so that the scale would begin on D# and the presumed unrevised first note of m. 82 were G#, the harmonic focus would be quite chromatic. D# resolving to G# projects a 3rds relationship of V/iii to iii. Such a harmonic vocabulary is typical of Schubert, who spends considerable time exploring harmonic relationships of 3rds.

25. This method of changing the notes is similar to the way the fourth version of m. 80 (Ex. 4) was written on top of the second version (Ex. 2).

26. In Part Four, I described some of the procedures by which Beethoven made his corrections in the Autograph, and in other manuscripts. At this point, it may be helpful to go into a bit more detail. In the Autograph and elsewhere two styles of corrections, which are similar and yet also different, can be seen. Both are the result of Beethoven's having second thoughts. As I have already discussed, one manner of correction consists of the original thought being crossed out. In the Autograph, this means of creating a correction occurs with greater frequency in the exposition and recapitulation sections. The second type of correction consists of Beethoven's inserting his alternative reading, leaving the original idea intact and not crossing it out. This condition occurs with greater frequency in the Autograph in the development section.

Where Beethoven crossed out his original idea, the fact of the older idea having been crossed out serves as evidence of Beethoven's certainty and conviction about the new(er) idea. In the present situation at m. 80, however, the older idea's not being crossed out is taken to mean, in the parlance of Beethoven sketch studies, that Beethoven was not fully convinced of his new(er) idea(s), and wanted, or needed, the original idea as a reference point for further deliberations.

There is a secondary problem for those corrections where he crossed out his original materials. Did he cross out the original idea before developing his new idea, out of sheer dissatisfaction with the original idea? Or, did he leave the original material intact, as we have seen at m. 80, and only some time later on become convinced of the efficacy of the new(er) idea, and only then, cross out the old(er) idea? This is a critical and highly crucial question, as we will see in the examination of several other passages in future articles.

27. This explains why there are no clarifying letter names for the beat 1 triplet.

28. In reality the change at Examples 1, 2 and 4 was downward by a minor 6th.

Back to Main Article Page

(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.)


Direct correspondence to the appropriate ICS Staff
Webmaster: Michael Pimomo Director: John Michel
Copyright © 1995- Internet Cello Society