Three-part Canon in C minor, Biamonti 811, performed live (mp3)
Performer: Willem and Armando Orlandi
This sketch, from De Roda-sketchbook, is an interesting little experiment. It dates from between February and August, 1825.
The theme is 4 bars long, and resembles somewhat the theme of the Scherzo from the String Quartet op.74. In the Biamonti 811-sketch, Beethoven starts out by writing down his vigorous, little theme in unison for all three voices. Then the theme appears in the first voice, with the heading: "Solo: Canone: 1a Voce". The canon itself is not written out in full, but the entries of the 2nd and 3rd voices are clearly indicated. After the canon, the theme is repeated once more in unison under the heading "Tutti". Then "Solo" and "lo stesso varioso" ("the same varied") suggest that a variation on the canon is to follow. So, this was to be a curious combination of canon- and variation-forms!
Beethoven's lay-out of the canon makes clear that he was thinking of a round. It therefore required additional material to work out the canon. For the variation I have used the most obvious trick in the book: subdividing the melody notes into equal, shorter notes. The counterpoint for the canon could also be combined with the variation of the theme; this section is therefore both a canon and a variation.
By way of conclusion, the opening statement of the theme in unison follows once more. The regular contrasts between unisono and polyphony adds the feeling of a Rondo to the whole.
Completion by Willem. World premiere for the Unheard Beethoven.