BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Thursday, December 26, 1822 (approximately)

Sometime during the month of December, Beethoven completes the song The Kiss (Der Kuss), op.128 (though it is initially assigned opus number 121 when it is published in 1825). The date “1822 in December” is written on the autograph by Beethoven, along with the note written sideways in the margin, “What for a title?” Despite the inscribed date, the song was almost complete when it was sketched in 1798 in sketchbook Grasnick 1, which is also about the time of the surviving fragment of the early version Hess 147, heard here:

Beethoven then sends the score to copyist Ferdinand Wolanek for a fair copy. This fair copy still does not have the familiar title attached, but rather simply describes it as “Ariette.” The original of the copyist’s score is held in the Schott music archives in Mainz, while the autograph is in the British Library in London as Zweig MS 10, and can be seen here: