Search

Searching the Unheard Works

There are two main ways to search: by catalog number, or by instrumentation. For further explanation of these categories, see below. When you reach the details page of the piece you want to hear, simply click on the download link; the soundfile should begin playing. If you want to download a soundfile, simply right-click on the link and save the file where you want it to be saved.

Search by Catalog

Opus
WoO
Hess
Biamonti
Gardi

Search by Instrumentation

Symphonies
Miscellanous Orchestral Works
Overtures
Violin with Orchestra
Works for Five or More Instruments
String Quartets
String Trios and Duos
Wind Instruments
Piano with Orchestra
Piano Quartets and Quintets
Piano Trios
Piano and Violin
Piano and Cello
Piano and Wind Instruments
Piano Four Hands
Piano Sonata
Piano Variations
Smaller Pieces for Piano
Church Music, Masses
Dramatic Works
Cantatas
Vocal Works with Orchestra
Songs with Piano, Canons and Musical Jokes
Folk Song Arrangements
Counterpoint Studies and Fugues

What are the catalogs?

There are five major catalogs of Beethoven’s works that are used here, and you can search under any of them:

1) Opus Number: These are typically the works which Beethoven considered to be the most significant. In some cases, he assigned these opus numbers himself; in many others, the publishers (legitimate and otherwise) assigned these numbers, and not always consistent with the wishes of the composer. In a few cases, these opus numbers were assigned posthumously. Nearly all of the pieces with opus numbers have been recorded, with the notable exception of the questionable opus 63, which is included here. We also provide some interesting variants on familiar compositions. The opus numbering is vaguely chronological, but there are many exceptions, especially when the numbers were assigned by publishers rather than Beethoven himself.

2) Kinsky-Halm: Works Without Opus Number (Werke ohne Opuszahl, or WoO). In the mid- 1950′s Georg Kinsky compiled a list of the Beethoven works without opus numbers; Kinsky died before the project was finished, and it was completed by Hans Halm. We will typically refer to items in this catalog as WoO (number). Kinsky and Halm lists 205 works, about a dozen of which have never been recorded, and all of which are included here. Kinsky-Halm lists works in order based upon the type of composition.

3) Hess: At about the same time as Kinsky and Halm were compiling their catalog, Willy Hess was independently making his own catalog of pieces which are not in the Gesamtausgabe (or GA), the collected works as published by Breitkopf & Haertel 1862-1865. Hess lists 335 pieces, plus an Appendix or Anhang of many more, with some significant overlap with Kinsky-Halm. Hess was more willing to accept fragmentary pieces or sketches into his catalog than were Kinsky and Halm. Well over a hundred of these Hess-numbered pieces have never been recorded, and the majority of them are presented here. In the case of fragmentary or incomplete pieces, we have typically provided a soundfile which sets forth what is present in the score, and also a second file which provides a conjectural completion. We are still pursuing the missing items from the Hess catalog; this section of the website will be an ongoing project with new files being added. In cases of overlap between the Hess catalog and the Kinsky-Halm catalog, we have used the Kinsky-Halm numbering in all instances; in a few odd cases (e.g. the Hochzeitslied, WoO 105/Hess 125) we have listed a piece under both catalog numbers. Hess, like Kinsky-Halm, lists the compositions by the type of composition. The Hess catalog was recently translated into English by James F. Green and updated comprehensively, but Green wisely did not change Hess’ numbering in any way, so the Hess number should be consistent whether you have the original Hess catalog or the Hess-Green catalog. Note, however, that Hess had three earlier versions of his catalog with different numbering; those earlier versions are not supported since they have fallen into obscurity.

4) Biamonti Catalog: In 1968, Prof. Giovanni Biamonti of Rome published his Catologo Tematico of the works of Beethoven. Biamonti’s numbering scheme runs in what he believed to be the chronological order of composition. His catalog numbers 849 items, which includes all of the items with opus numbers, Kinsky-Halm numbers and Hess numbers, plus several hundred additional items. Biamonti was even more inclusive than Hess in counting fragmentary works, but he also lists a few items which are more-or-less complete works which had been missed by the earlier cataloguers. Because the Biamonti catalog is not readily accessible, items are generally listed here by Biamonti number only if they have no opus, WoO or Hess number assigned to them.

5) Gardi Catalog: There are a significant number of compositions which do not have an opus, WoO, Hess or Biamonti number at all. We are cataloging these compositions and assigning our own number, the Gardi # or GV #, to these compositions. We have been waiting many years, but remain hopeful that a new complete reworking of the existing catalogs may still occur in our lifetimes (even if we have to do it ourselves) since they suffer from a number of serious defects and omissions.

How is instrumentation broken down?

If you don’t know the catalog number, or are just browsing for a piece, you can look up a piece by the category, which is generally equivalent to the instrumentation. In making the breakdown, we have followed the classification in the Breitkopf & Haertel Gesamtausgabe, which describes general 24 classes of instrumentation. We have added a 25th category, “Counterpoint Studies and Fugues” which is an enormous body of material that has not really been touched since Gustav Nottebohm’s work with it in 1873. Please note that at present there are not MIDI files on this site for every class. The classes are as follows:

Symphonies
Miscellaneous Orchestral Works
Overtures
Violin with Orchestra
Works for Five or More Instruments
String Quartets
String Trios and Duos
Wind Instruments
Piano with Orchestra
Piano Quartets and Quintets
Piano Trios
Piano and Violin
Piano and Cello
Piano and Wind Instruments
Piano Four Hands
Piano Sonata
Piano Variations
Smaller Pieces for Piano
Church Music, Masses
Dramatic Works
Cantatas
Vocal Works with Orchestra
Songs with Piano, Canons and Musical Jokes
Folk Song Arrangements
Counterpoint Studies and Fugues