Beginning of String Quartet movement, Biamonti 382
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
This sketch is found in the Eroica Sketchbook, Landsberg 6, currently held by the Biblioteka Jagiellonska in Krakow, Poland. It is clearly scored for string quartet, and dates from 1803, halfway between the completion of the 6 String Quartets op.18 and the start of the work on the Rasumovsky Quartets. The original sketch begins in full score but ceases after about 18 measures. Farther on the page is an additional figure. Beethoven writes here: "Schluss ab primo" (roughly: end of first section). Since it is in the dominant key of E, we can conclude that Beethoven intended a Sonata form, and that the additional figure was meant as close for the exposition.
The theme has a vitality and immediacy to it that was irresistible; we present here both the original sketch and Willem's completion, which illustrates the potential of the thematic material in this short sketch; every single bar of the completion is derived from the sketch. For example, the 2nd theme is an expansion of Beethoven's bar 13. The completion is dedicated to Ira M. Brilliant (making this the aptly-named "Brilliant Quartet"), who was instrumental in the foundation of the Beethoven Center at San Jose State University that bears his name, in gratitude for the encouragement he has given to the Unheard Beethoven website.