Grossen Dank fuer solche Gnade, Canon WoO 225, Hess 303, worked out for Two, Four and Eight Voices (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
This canon is found among the sketches for the Adagio from the Ninth Symphony. While Kinsky-Halm and the rest of the Beethoven literature (Nottebohm, Unger and Hess) refer to this as a two-part canon, it can be worked out as no less than an 8-part(!) canon.
We provide here the original score and also the working out in two, four and eight parts. The first canon is obvious: the 2nd voice follows at an interval of 2 bars. Looking more closely, there is also a 4-part canon: the voices enter each at a one-bar interval, the trick being that each voice starts a tone lower than the previous voice. The real surprise comes upon discovering that these two canons can be combined, resulting in a 8-part canon. Truly a Miniature Monument of Musical Mastery!
Canons with more than 6 voices are rare. The world record, although probably not mentioned in the Guiness Book of Records, is held by Johannes Ockeghem (Dutch/Flemish composer from the 15th century, http://consider.ferris.edu/~atwells/ockeghem.html) who wrote a 36-part canon: Deo Gratias.
The last section on the midi is just the 8-part canon again, only scored slightly differently. In English, "Grossen Dank, grossen Dank, fuer solche Gnade" = "Many thanks, many thanks for such great mercy."
Yet another world premiere for the Unheard Beethoven site. Our visitors don't expect anything less.