BEETHOVEN 200 YEARS AGO TODAY: Wednesday, May 21, 1823 (approximately)

Sometime about now, Beethoven begins using the second part of the desk sketchbook Landsberg 8. That sketchbook is today separated into two chunks, and has been since they were owned by Artaria. This second half includes pages with 16 staves, while the first half had pages with only 12, and was probably assembled by hand by Beethoven, sewing the bundles of pages together. One gathering of 14 leaves now held by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, Autograph A 50, and the bifolum BH 112 at the Bonn Beethovenhaus may make up the final part of this sketchbook. There are almost certainly additional leaves missing and destroyed or unidentified.

The sketches for the first movement of the Ninth Symphony that begin this desk sketchbook are logical successors to those that conclude Landsberg 8/1. By about the end of July, Beethoven had more or less completed work on the first two movements of the Ninth Symphony, one quarter of the way through the sketchbook. Work on the Ninth will continue in this book and the Rolland pocket sketchbook through the end of 1823 and into early 1824. The sketchbook will then be put aside as Beethoven’s attention is preoccupied by getting the full score in finished condition, and the preparations for Beethoven’s Akademie benefit concert on May 7, 1824. He will then pick the sketchbook up again in the summer of 1824 and at last begin serious work on the quartets for Prince Nikolai Galitzin, and the bagatelles for piano op.126.

The sketchbook is presently in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek. Attached is a copy of the first page of this desk sketchbook.

Desk Sketchbook Landsberg 2, 1r.