Fugue in C, Hess 326 (Completion)(mp3)
The draft for this playful little fugue can be found amongst the sketches for the oratorio "Christ on the Mountain of Olives" in the Wielhorsky sketchbook, and dates therefore from 1800-1801.
How fortunate that Beethoven's counterpoint teacher, Albrechtsberger, never saw this fugue: no doubt it would have shortened his life considerably. Not only is the fugue subject answered in the subdominant rather than dominant (which Albrechtsberger seems to have more or less allowed) but there are also quite a few concealed fifths and octaves in Beethoven's counterpoint. Immediately after the exposition Beethoven writes down the ending of the fugue. The middle section (essentially a three part stretto over the fugue subject) is provided by Willem.
All those who understand that music theory gives guidelines to help a composer in his difficult task rather than being a set of rules which have to be obeyed at all cost, will shrug their shoulders over the shortcomings of this fugue, and just delight in what was clearly on Beethoven's mind: writing a fugue over an as unlikely fugue subject as one can imagine, and having sheer fun in doing so.
This fugue is yet another World Premiere for the Unheard Beethoven site. We give both the completion by Willem and also Beethoven's original sketch, with the middle section missing.