Reconstructed Cadenzas for Piano Concerto op. 15, Hess 76 Reconstruction by Willem
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
The Concerto now known as Nr. 1 in C actually postdates Concerto Nr. 2 in B-flat. However, Beethoven was apparently working on the concerto in C as early as 1795. During 1795 and through the next three years, Beethoven took up the problem of a cadenza for the first movement of the Concerto in C on several occasions. There is little overlap among these various occasions, nor is there much overlap with the three cadenzas which Beethoven wrote in 1809 (most likely for Archduke Rudolph's use). We present here the fragments that appear to relate to this cadenza's development. They come in four discrete chunks, and are reproduced here in what seems to be the chronological order of their writing. The sources of these four chunks are as follows: 1) Fischoff Miscellany, page 30 (Berlin Staatsbibliothek, transcribed by Douglas Johnson) (1795);
2) Kafka Miscellany page 72 (British Museum, transcribed by Joseph Kerman, et al.) (1795-99);
3) Kafka Miscellany page 138 (Ibid.) (1796-98); and
4) Grasnick Sketchbook I page 2 (Berlin Staatsbibliothek, transcribed by Douglas Johnson) (mid-1798).
Of course, this order may be completely wrong; the only thing that seems certain is that fragment 1) above is not contemporaneous with fragment 4). In presenting these fragments, the following rules have been followed: the four main fragments have been separated by five empty measures equalling ten seconds of silence; in places where Beethoven has written "u.s.w." ("etc."), we have inserted an interruption of two bars. Where there is a double bar or other clear break in the music on a single fragment, we have inserted one empty bar. In general, the fragments appear in the order in which they appear on the page; the one exception is for Kafka 72; the last sketch is denoted "Beginning of the C". Assuming that C means Cadenza, we have taken the liberty of moving that piece to the front of the chunk Kafka 72. Many of the whole notes indicated in the sketches are no doubt meant to be executed with trills; however, we have inserted the trills only where expressly marked by Beethoven with a "tr" or a horizontal line following a "tr."
Finally, in a separate file, we present two cadenzas by Willem, based on Beethoven's sketches. The sole purpose is to present some of Beethoven's ideas in a coherent way, making it possible for you to enjoy them as music. There is enough material to make even more cadenzas!
The second of these cadenzas starts with a striking harmonic idea, which shows that Beethoven was sometimes more adventurous in his sketches than in his finished works: both left and right hands do have triads, which behave in a contrapuntal way. This results in dissonating chords of six different notes on the first counts of the opening phrase; a boldness worthy of the Eroica!
After a middle section, derived from bars 216-224 and 431-439 of the first movement, there follows a light-hearted two part counterpoint, worked out as a sequence in the manner of J.S.Bach.