Canon, 'Da ist das Werk', WoO 197 (mp3)

Canon, 'Da ist das Werk', WoO 197 (mp3)
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Performer: Willem
Length: 1:13
In September 1826 Beethoven finishes his arrangement of the Grosse Fuge, for piano 4 hands, op.134, and the task of bringing the work to the publisher is entrusted to Karl Holz. Beethoven instructs Holz by means of this canon :
"There is the work, See about the money, See, See! One, two, three, four, five, six, sev'n, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, Twelve ducats, ducats, ducats, ducats, ducats !"

12 ducats would be roughly $1,600 in present day money.

The canon is for five voices, with entries after two bars at the unison. We notice that the first triplet of bar 6 is identical to the one in bar 8. This means that at this point there will always be two voices in unison. Bad counterpoint ! It shows the haste with which Beethoven must have jotted down this canon, because only the shortest of reflections is necessary to see how this can be corrected : the first beat of bar 8 should just be : C - G - E. [There is a second good reason for this correction, can you spot it? ] But of course it is the counting of the ducats that counts ! Who cares about textbook rules at such a moment of high excitement ?

Ludwig Misch, in his chapter on the canons, raises the question whether the B natural in bar 2 shouldn't be a B-flat. It is not clear whether he actually sees something resembling a flat there in the autograph, or whether he wants to see it, for theoretical reasons : this B natural clashes with the C of bar 6, and by lowering the B to B-flat the dissonant will lose much of its sharpness. However, as the current recording shows, the B natural against C does not create any problems, so Misch should not have worried.

WoO: 197
Hess: 271

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