Fragment, Biamonti 672 (1817)
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
This little fragment of three notes is found in a letter from Beethoven to publisher Sigmund Anton Steiner. Although undated, it is believed to be from January, 1817, while Beethoven was in Vienna. In the letter (Nr. 751 in Anderson's catalog), Beethoven requests copies of numerous compositions for that afternoon "to butter up people." Beethoven also inquires as to whether Tobias Haslinger has been cuffed about both ears as punishment for botching a piano arrangement of the 8th symphony for piano duet. Since Beethoven in his comic army (in which he was Generalissimo) referred to Steiner as his Lieutenant General, the three notes may be a setting for 'Lieutenant' or 'General.' No key or clef is indicated, leading to a broad ambiguity. The midi here presents the notes as they appear both in the treble clef (as D-F-B#) and bass clef (as F-A-D#). The latter sounds a bit preferable, but there are insufficient clues to determine the proper reading of this fragment.