Chorale Fugue in D Minor, Hess 239 nr.2 (mp3)
Theme derived from the chorale by Albrechtsberger.
This fugue appears as Nr.2 in Nottebohm's Beethovens Studien, Chapter VII, p. 120, as corrected by Albrechtsberger.
The fugue is here scored for trumpet, English horn, alto saxophone, double-bass, and choir aahs to double the chorale. Dates from about 1794-95.
In these fugues written for Albrechtsberger we see the lion condemned to a diet of only vegetable soup. The aim of these lessons is to master the polyphonic style of Da Palestrina (1525-1594).
Although Beethoven had already reached considerable heights in his own music at this time, in these fugues we see him surrender his creative powers in order to conform to the strict, and often petty, rules of his teacher. He did so because he understood that he had to learn things which were of the essence for his art: polyphony taught him not only to improve his voice leading, it is also, and has been throughout the centuries, the engine behind all harmonic innovation. Rather than the arrogant genius who rejects all outside influence, Beethoven is eager to learn from a style which is, viewed superficially, diametrically opposed to his own.