March for Duport, Biamonti 839 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
This brief march of 16 bars is sketched in autograph 9, bundle 1, held by the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin, found amongst sketches for the Tenth Symphony, the BACH overture and the Grosse Fuge. It is notated by Beethoven at the head as "Duport Marsch," but this cannot have been written for Pierre Duport, the cellist for whom Beethoven had written the op. 5 cello sonatas nearly 30 years earlier, since he died in 1818. Accordingly to Schindler (usually unreliable, but in this instance there is no reason to doubt him), this may refer to the choreographer Louis Antoine Duport (1781-1853). In 1824, Duport was the manager of the Kaerntnertor Theatre, where the Ninth Symphony was premiered on May 7 of that year. In fact, earlier in this same sketchbook, Beethoven makes note of the 9th and the Missa Solemnis being performed at an Akademie concert at this very theater. When Beethoven attempted to repeat the success of the first concert a week later, the house was only half-filled and Duport had to bear the loss of the concert. This little March was presumably sketched out as a token of appreciation to Duport, although Schindler suggests it was a joke of some kind (Beethoven scholar Gustav Nottebohm wryly notes that if it is a joke, it is not understandable to us).
The march is not known to have been completed; if it was, the completed version has been lost. The present sketch is apparently for an orchestral force of some kind, since the low first note is indicated as being for horns, but the orchestration of the melody line is not indicated.