View of Bonn During Beethoven's Time

Arriving in Beethoven's first Bonn year as a youth, we find him at age eleven, as pupil of Christian Gottlob Neefe.  In our Biographical Pages and in other relevant sections of this web site, we have already discussed Neefe's role as sponsor of his young pupil.  We might also recall Neefe's mentioning Beethoven in the article he submitted to Cramers Magazin der Musik which appeared on March 2, 1783.  From this artile, we feature the relevant passage on Beethoven's first variations:   


"So far as his duties permitted, Herr Neefe has also given him instruction in thorough-bass.  He is now training him in composition and for his encouragement has had nine variations for the pianoforte, written by him on  march--by Ernst Christoph Dressler--engraved at Mannheim" [Thayer-Forbes:   66].

Although it cannot be determined with certainty whether these variations represent Beethovens actual first composition, it can safely be assumed that the are one of his first compotions.  Thayer-Forbes (p. 72) assigns them to tye year 1782.  

In his article on Beethoven's piano variations, Hans Schmidt wonders whether Neefe might not have selected them from a small number of first Beethoven compositions.  

Thayer-Forbes (p. 66) points out that Neefe had these variations printed by Goetz at Mannheim and that they were dedicated to Countess Felice von Wolf-Metternich.

Title Page of the Dressler Variations

Thayer-Forbes (p. 66) further mentions that Countess Wolf-Metternich was the wife of Count Graf Ignaz von Metternich, the "Conference Master" and President of the High Appellate Court and that he died in Bonn on March 15, 1790.  It is also mentioned that the composer of the theme, Christoph Dressler, was an opera singer in Cassel.  

With respect to Beethoven's sources for the development of his first variation,s Thayer-Forbes writes: 

"There were many examples of the sonata and variations forms to serve as models for the boy.  The three-movement sonata in its short compact form was particularly developed by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and there is no doubt that the young Beethoven was acquainted with these works.  Whether this experience was gained primarily through Neefe, who himself writes that he studied Emanuel Bach intensively, is not certain; presumably Beethoven already knew his work in his own home.  The only reference to his (Beethoven's) father made by Beethoven in all the manuscripts examined for this work, an official document or two excepted, is written in Beethoven's hand upon an unfinished copy of one of Emanuel Bach's cantatas, Morgengesang am Schöpfungstage, "Written down by my dear father." . . . " (Thayer-Forbes: 66).

For a description of the musical content of these variations, we can rely on Hans Schmidt's article and our desciption of its content in English: 

"Es ist sehr bemerkenswert, daß die frühesten Variationen, diejenigen über einen Marsch von Ernst Christoph Dressler, das erste Werk, das von Beethoven gedruckt wurde, alle Züge aufweist, die sich in der Folge für Beethovens Schaffen als typisch erwiesen haben: die Tonart c-moll, der Marschrhythmus – und nicht zuletzt die Variationenform. Die geringe Verschiedenheit der 1. Variation vom Thema gehört zu den kleinen Schwächen, die man dem jugendlichen Autor da oder dort anlastet. Die Ähnlichkeit zweier Variationen wie hier der vierten und zweiten fällt weniger nachteilig ins Gewicht, wenn man die Variationenreihe als Prozeß betrachtet, in dem es dann auch den Bezug der 4. Variation zur vorausgehenden 3. Variation zu berücksichtigen gilt. Von Variation zu Variation erfolgt eine Intensivierung der Bewegung, in einer ersten Stufe in der 2. Variation und mit wechselnder Beteiligung einmal der rechten und einmal der linken Hand, beide schon recht virtuos vereinigt in der 5. Variation. Und auch fehlt es nicht an einem rauschenden, effektvollen, wenn auch kaum allzuschwierigen Finale. Es ist die typische, damals übliche Form der Figuralvariationen" --

-- Schmidt writes here that it is very remarkable that these earliest variations, the first work published Beethoven work, would show all those traits that would become typical for him: the c-minor key, the march rhythm, and also the variation form.  He describes the closeness of the first variation to the theme as one of the weaknesses that is criticized here and there.  The similarity of two variations, such as the fourth and second, in this instance, is less significant in Schmidt's opinion if one looks at this set of variations as a process in which one would also consider the relationship of the 4th variation to the preceding 3rd variation.  From variation to variation, Schmidt continues, an intensification of motion becomes apparent, at first in the 2nd variation, and with alternating use of the right and the left hand, which already appear united in virtuoso style in the 5th variation.  Moreover, as Schmidt writes, these variations do not lack a 'dashing', although not too difficult, finale.  He describes the work as a typical figure-style variation work of those times.

A more contemporary comment is provided by Lewis Lockwood.  It also provides us with further information on the 1803 re-publication of the work:  

"In the "Dressler" Variations of 1782, WoO 63, Beethoven takes a simple, laborious C-minor march theme through nine variations that display diminished note values in the right and sometimes left hand, all of them slavishly following the basic contour and harmonic pattern of the theme in conventional ways.  Inevitably primitive by his later standards, the "Dressler" Variations are impressive enough for an eleven-year old, through they hardly suggest the genial power he would develop in this genre within the next eight years, for example in the far more polished "Righini" Variations of 1790.  What is surprising, however, is that more than twenty years later, in 1803, when he was in the flush of maturity and starting full-scale work on the Eroica Symphony, Beethoven agreed to a new edition of the "Dressler" Variations, with only some light improvements made by him or someone else.  This initiative is an early indication of his lifelong inability to pass up publication of older and sometimes trifling works in order to pocket a publisher's fee.  It also suggests the possibility that in 1803, as he moved into a new phase of his mature creative mastery, he marked it by quietly agreeing to the reappearance of this little piece that had begun his juvenile career as a composer.  The reprint removes the name of Dressler but repeats the fiction of 1782 that the work had been written by Beethoven at the age of ten!" (Lockwood: 53-55). 


Link to the Midi Sample of this Work at Classical Music Archives, under "Piano Variations"




if we follow the following comment by Thayer-Forbes, 

"Unger dates the Six Easy Variations on a Swiss Air for the harp or piano-forte around 1790 on the basis of an autograph, which he believes is in Beethoven's own hand, to be found in the Bodmer collection at the Beethovenhaus in Bonn.[26: See Max Unger, "Eine Schweizer Beethoven-Sammlung," NBJ, v, 40, no. 2]" (Thayer-Forbes: 130),

it would take eight years before Beethoven would write his second composition in this musical genre.  As Hans Schmidt writes, these six variations are based on a Swiss folk tune that was very popular at that time and which featured the text "Es hätt e' Buur e' Töchterli, consisting of only 11 bars, and of which Johann Gottfried Herder is reported as having written that:

„Die Melodie ist leicht und steigend wie eine Lerche, der Dialekt schwingt in lebendiger Wortverschmelzung ihr nach, wovon freilich in Lettern auf dem Papier wenig bleibt“ ["The melody is light and ascending like a lark, the dialect reverberates lively in it; however, on paper, nothing of this remains"],

while Reichardts preface to his "Frohe Lieder für deutsche Männer" (Berlin, 1781) comments that "nur solche Melodien wie das Schweizerlied . . . wahre ursprüngliche Volksmelodien" ["only such melodies as the Swiss song are true, original folk melodies"].

As Schmidt further reports, Beethoven picked the melody up unaccompanied and had to write his own harmonization for it.  He describes these variations as more simple from the beginning, owing to their nature as a folk tune.  With respect to the autography, Schmidt reports:   

"Fast so etwas wie jugendliche Befangenheit spricht aus den Schriftzügen der im Besitz des Bonner Beethovenhauses befindlichen Originalhandschrift, die so wenig von den typischen Merkmalen der Beethovenschen Hand verrät, daß man sie lange Zeit – allerdings irrtümlich – für eine zeitgenössische Kopistenabschrift gehalten hatte" --

-- Schmidt writes that he detects in Beethoven's penmanship traces of youthful shyness in the original autograph (that is in the possession of the Beethovenhaus in Bonn) and that this penmanship does not show any of the traits that would become typical for Beethoven's later penmanship, so that t for a long time the autograph, although erroneously, was considered to be a copy by a copyist of the time.

Schmidt's report that these variations were only published as late as 1798 agrees, insofar, with the Grove Dictionary of Music that was published in 2001, as the latter describes them as having been composed "before 1793" and as probably having been published at Bonn in 1798.  

In order for us to gain a lively impression of this small work, we might wish to listen to the following midi sample: 

Link to the Midi Sample at Classical Music Archives, under "Piano Variations"




Vincenzo Righini

These years (according to Grove 2001: 1790/91; according to Thayer-Forbes, p. 132: 1790  ("Twenty-Four Variations for Pianoforte on a theme from Righni's "Venni Amore," WoO 65. 1st version") also saw the creation of what Lewis Lockwood (p. 62) described as Beethoven's only progressive instrumental composition of that time:  the 24 Variations on a theme of Righini's Arietta "Venni Amore" in D Major.  With respect to the composer of this Arietta, we quote a brief entry from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 4th edition of 1888-1890, and translate it into English:

"Vincenzo Righini (*22. Januar 1756 in Bologna, † 19. August 1812 in Bologna) war ein italienischer Komponist und Sänger. Er erhielt seine Ausbildung am Konservatorium Bologna, wurde mit 20 Jahren als  Tenor bei der Opera buffa in Prag angestellt, wirkte von 1779 bis 1788 als Kapellmeister und Gesangsvirtuose in Wien, trat dann in gleicher Eigenschaft in den Dienst des Kurfürsten von Mainz und wurde 1793 als Kapellmeister nach Berlin berufen.  Er starb auf einer Erholungsreise in seiner Heimatstadt" ("Vincenco Righini, born on January 22, 1756 in Bologna, died on August 19, 1812 in Bologna) was an Italian composer and signer.  He studied at the Bologna Conservatory, and, at the age of 20, he was hired as tenor singer by the Opera buffa in Prague, worked as Kapellmeister and singer in Vienna from 1179 to 1788 and, in the same capacity, in the service of the Elector of Mainz and, in 1793, was engaged as Kapellmeister in Berlin.  He died during a holiday in his native city, Bologna").

As Hans Schmidt writes in his variation article, from 1788 on, Righini worked as Kapellmeister for the Mainz Elector.  Schmidt assumes that Beethoven might have known him.  This possibility is strengthened by Lewis Lockwoods reference (p. 62) that Righini is reported as also having visited Bonn in 1788.  

As Thayer-Forbes (p. 125) reports, the Arietta begins with "Venni Amore nel tuo regno, ma compagno del Timor", and Righini gave his melody five variations.  

However, Beethoven literature does not confirm that Beethoven received Righini's theme during the Italian composer's 1788 Bonn visit.   Lockwood (p. 62) is of the opinion that, with this composition, Beethoven,  "in a typical challenge to the current establishment, was competing with Righini both directly and indirectly for public recognition."

With respect to the compositional quality of this work, Lockwood writes: 

"The variations demand substantial virtuosity from the performer, develop the simple theme well beyond its seemingly modest possibilities, and show real flair.  Possibilities latent in the theme are exploited here with imagination and freedom that go far beyond the "Dressler" Variations; the shifts in tempo, mode, and character are handled with impressive skill" [Lockwood: 62-63].

Thayer-Forbes (p. 125 and p. 133) reports that the work was published by Götz in Mannheim in 1791 and that it was dedicated to Countess Maria Anna Hortensia von Hatzfeld of whom Thayer-Forbes reports that, in a description of Bonn lay musicians,  she was described as an "eminent pianist".  Schmidt points out that, according to an advertisement of August 13, 1791 in the Wiener Zeitung, already then, the work consisted of 24 variations.  

Perhaps, we might recall Thayer-Forbes engaging report of Beethoven's stay at Aschaffenburg in the year 1791:  



The Aschaffenburg Palace

"At Aschaffenburg-am-Main was the large summer palace of the Electors of Mainz; and here dwelt Abbé Sterkel, now a man of 40 years; a musician from his infancy, one of the first pianists of all Germany and without a rival in this part of it, except perhaps Vogler of Mannheim.  His style both as composer and pianist had been refined and cultivated to the utmost, both in Germany and Italy, and his playing was in the highest degree light, graceful, pelasing--as Ries described it to Wegeler, "somewhat ladylike."  Ries and Simrock took the two young Rombergs and Beethoven to pay their respects to the master, "who, complying with the general request, sat himself down to play.  Beethoven, who up do this time," says Wegeler, "had not heard a great or celebrated pianoforte player, knew nothing of the finer nuances in the handling of the instrument; his playing was rude and hard.  Now he stood with attention all on a string by the side of Sterkel"; for this grace and delicacy, if not power of execution, which he now heard were a new revelation to him.  After Sterkel had finished, the young Bonn concertplayer was invited to take his place at the instrument; but he naturally hesitated to exhibit himself after such a display.  The shrewd Abbé, however, brought him to it by a pretence of doubting his ability.

   A year or two before, Kapellmeister Vincenzo Righini, a colleague of Sterkel in the service of the Elector of Mainz, had published Dodeci Ariette, one of which, "Vieni (Venni) Amore," was a melody with five vocal variations, to the same accompaniment.  Beethoven, taking this melody as his theme, had composed, dedicated to the Countess of Hatzfeld and published twenty-four variations for the pianoforte upon it.  Some of these were very difficult, and Sterkel now expressed his doubts if their author could himself play them.  His honor thus touched, "Beethoven played not only these variations so far as he could remember them (Sterkel could not find them), but went on with a number of others no less difficult, all to the great surprise of the listeners, perfectly, and in the ingratiating manner that had struck him in Sterkel's playing" (Thayer-Fores: 103-104).

Thayer-Forbes (p. 125) reports that Beethoven valued these variations, himself and that Carl Czerny reportedly told Otto Jahn that "he had brought them with him to Vienna and used them to "introduce" himself").

Thayer-Forbes (p. 125 and p. 323, whereby TF points out that Beethoven revised the variations in 1891), Hans Schmidt, in his variation article, Lockwood (p. 62-63) and Solomon (p. 46) point out that Beethoven releaved these Viariations for a reprint by Traeg in Vienna, in 1802.  

Hans Schmidt is not certain what the difference between the first and second versions might have been.  With respect to the second version, let us first look at Lewis Lockwood's and then at Maynard Solomon's comment: 

"Beethoven thought enough of this work, which exceeds his earlier sets in size and heft, to revise it in 1802.    The ending of the twenty-fourth variation even brings a "farewell" effect that anticipates the much later Lebewohl Sonata.  Although some of the more striking effects may have been added to the work in a revision between 1791 and 1802, we are sure that the first edition, now lost, also had twenty-four variations, so the odds are good that it was not much less elaborate than the 1802 version" (Lockwood: 62-63).

"The brilliant set of variations on Righini's "Veni Amore", WoO 65, is of superior quality, so much so that some earlier scholars thought (wrongly) that it had been thoroughly recomposed prior to its Vienna publication in 1802" (Solomon: 46).

As we can see, these two comments do not differ too much with respect to the difference between the first and second versions.  In order for us to gain a more lively impression of this work, we might wish to listen to the following midi sample:  

Link to the Midi Sample at Dominique Prevot's Beethoven-Website



As last Bonn variations, let us consider two works, of which one, however, does not belong into the category of piano variations for two hands, which, however, by virtue of its "Bonn" connection to his friend and patron, Count Waldstein, creates a suitable "link" between Beethoven's Bonn years and his first Vienna years.  

Thayer-Forbes (p. 131-132) lists 1792 as the year in which the "Dittersdorf" variations were composed.  With respect to this, Barry Cooper reports:  

"Among the new works was Dittersdorf's Das rote Käppchen, premiered in Vienna in 1788 and now produced in Bonn in February 1792.  This at once became very popular there, and its success evidently induced Beethoven to write a set of piano variations on one of its airs, 'Es war einmal ein alter Mann' (WoO 66)" (Cooper: 36).  

In his variation article, Hans Schmidt points out that:

"Zur gleichen Zeit nahmen außer Beethoven auch noch andere Komponisten auf das beliebte Singspiel Bezug. Die 13 Variationen seines Lehrers Neefe über „Das Frühstück schmeckt viel besser hier“ sollen Beethoven als Vorbild gedient haben" --

Schmidt writes here that, at the same time as Beethoven, other composers also musically referred to the popular Dittersdorf work and that the 13 variations by his Bonn teacher Neefe on "Das Frühstück schmeckt viel besser hier" reportedly served as Beethoven's model.

Maynard Solomon refers to the same possibility:

" . . . (These last variations are said to be modeled upon a set by Neefe on another theme from Dittersdorf's opera)" (Solomon).

With respect to their musical content, let us look at Barry Coopers comment:  

" . . . Though far less striking than the Righini Variations, they reveal Beethoven's humorous side.  He was probably attracted to this particular air by a dramatic whole-bar rest, with pause, that Dittersdorf had inserted actually in the middle of a perfect cadence.  Beethoven retains this rest in each of the thirteen variations, but frequently springs a surprise immediately after the suspense by changing register, dynamic, figuration, or even metre, with highly comical effect" (Cooper: 36).

In the summer of 1792, these variations might also have played a role in Beethoven's letter to Eleonore von Breuning: 

 "Beethoven an Eleonore von Breuning[1] in Bonn


                                                                          [Bonn, Sommer 1792][2]

   . . .

   Zu einer kleinen Wiedervergeltung für ihr gütiges Andenken an mich, bin ich so frey, ihnen hier diese Variationen[4] und das Rondo mit einer violin[5] zu schicken. . . .

   . . . denken Sie zuweilen an ihren Sie noch immer verehrenden wahren Freund


an Fraülein von Breuning"

"Beethoven to Eleonore von Breuning [1] in Bonn


                                                                            [Bonn, summer 1792][2]

   . . .

   As a small token of appreciation for your kind remembrance of me, I take the liberty of sending you here these variations[4] and the Rondo with a violin[5] . . .

   . . . think sometimes of your true friend who still reveres you


to Fräulein von Breuning"

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 4, p. 9-10; Original:  Koblenz, Slg. Wegeler; to [1]: refers to Eleonore (Lorchen) Brigitte von Breuning (1771 - 1841), Sister of Stephan, Christoph and Lorenz (Lenz) von Breuning.  together with Lorzenz, she received piano lessons from Beethoven.  On March 19, 1802, she married the physician Franz Gerhard Wegeler; to [2]: according to the GA, this refers to the fact that the date of the letter can be derived from its content;  one of the clues is that in the address, the place of the destination of the letter is missing, which would allow the conclusion that the letter was still written from Bonn; a second clue, according the GA, is the fact that the letter refers to the Kerpen summer residence of the von Breunings, which would allow the conclusion that the letter might have been written at the beginning of the summer of 1792; to [4]: according to the GA, this might refer to WoO 66, 13 Variations for Piano on the Arietta  "Es war einmal ein alter Mann" from Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf's Singspiel Das rote Käppchen, which had been performed in February 1792 in Bonn, for the first time; to [6]: according to the GA, this refers to WoO 41, the Rondo for Piano and Violin, in G Major; details taken from p. 10].  

Here we might have reached the right moment to refer to the Variations for Piano for four hands on a theme by Count Waldstein.  With respect to them, Thayer-Forbes reports:  

"Two books of variations are to be adjudged to the Bonn period because of their place of publication and other biographical considerations.  They are the Variations in A major on a theme from Dittersdorf's opera Das rote Käppchen ("Es war einmal ein alter Mann") and the Variations for four hands on a theme by Count Waldstein.  Beethoven's intimate association with Waldstein in Bonn is a familiar story, but we hear little of it in the early Viennese days.  The variations on a theme of his own seem likely to have been the product of a wish expressed by the Count.  That Beethoven seldom wrote for four hands, and certainly not without a special reason, is an accepted fact" (Thayer-Forbes: 125).

Maynard Solomon and Barry Cooper describe their musical content as follows:  

" . . . and for piano four-hands on a theme by Count Waldstein, WoO 67, are characteristic and charming ornamental variations, although the Waldstein set is also of interest for its quasi-orchestral colors  . . . " (Solomon: 46).

"The latter work is normally described as containing eight variations, but there is actually a ninth, unnumbered variation followed by a lengthy coda; here Beethoven startles the listener not by changing key several times as in the Righini set but by repeatedly changing the metre, concluding with a 'presto' ending which, like most of the preceding variations, demands a high level of technical skill from both players" (Cooper: 36).

The somewhat dry report by Thayer-Forbes,  

"The "Das rote Käppchen" Variations were published by him in 1793; and the Waldstein Variations the following year" (Thayer-Forbes: 169),

might be complimented by Barry Cooper's more lively report:  

"These two sets of variations, and also the Dittersdorf set (WoO66), were not published at the time, but copies of the three works were given to his friend Simrock, who started a music publishing business in 1793 and eventually published them all" (Cooper: 36).

A lively impression of Beethoven's correspondence with Simrock and further important information about these Variations is available to us if we look at the original text from the Henle Gesamtausgabe of the composer's letter of June 18, 1794:  

"Beethoven an Nikolaus Simrock[1] in Bonn

                                                                             [Wien, 18. Juni 1794]

Lieber Simrock!

    mein Bruder[2] Sagte mir hier, daß sie meine Variationen zu 4 Händen schon gestochen hätten, oder doch stechen würden.[3] das anfragen deswegen bey mir, dünkt mich wäre doch wohl der Mühe werth gewesen; -- wenn ich nun eben so handelte, und jezt dieselben V.[ariationen] dem Artaria <verkaüfete>verkaufte, da sie Sie jezt stechen.  doch bleiben sie unbesorgt deswegen, das einzige, was ich mir ausbitte ist, daß sie jezt den Stich damit aufgeben, und mir nur schreiben, ob sie sie schon wircklich angefangen haben, ist das, so schicke ich ihnen von hier durch eine Gelegenheit an meinen Freund den Gr.[afen] waldstein[4] das Manuscript davon,[5] wonach sie sie denn stechen können, weil darin verschiedenes verbessert ist, und ich doch wenigstens wünsche meine Sachen in ihrer möglichen Vollkommenheit erscheinen zu sehen, sonst war ich nicht willens jetzt Variationen herauszugeben, da ich erst warten wolte, bis einige wichtigere Werke von mir in der welt wären, die nun bald[sic] herauskommen werden.

    ich bitte sie mir also deswegen sobald als möglich zu schreiben.

    wollten sie vieleicht hier einen Verleger haben, so wollte ich das gerne über mich nehmen, ihnen einen zu zeigen, den ich als einen wackern Mann kenne.

    übrigens hoffte ich wenistens zwei Duzend E[x]emplare zu bekommen, und wünsche daß sie richtiger gestochen mögen werden, da in den andern V.[6] ein wichtiger Fehler gemacht worden, indem man in der frten Variation, anstatt A moll anzuzeigen durch drey auflösungszeichen, hat A dur hat stehen laßen mit 3 Kreuzen.

    nur ein Exemplar schickten sie mir, das war doch verflucht wenig -- da mir artaria für die anderen[7] ein gutes Honorarium und 12 Exemplare gab.

    schreiben sie mir, ob sie etwas anders von mir wollen, und was? --

leben sie wohl und grüßen sie mir den Ries[8]  

ihr Dienstwilliger Freund

                                                                              L. v. Beethowen.

Vien den 18ten Juni. 1794.[9]

A Monsieur Simrock Musicien de S.A. de Cologne a Bonn."

"Beethoven to Nikolaus Simrock[1] in Bonn

                                                                             [Vienna, June 18, 1794]

Dear Simrock!

    my brother[2] told me here that you have already etched my Variations for 4 Hands or that you would etch them.[3] to enquire with me would, I think, have been worth it;--if I were to act in the same way, now, and would now sell the same V.[ariations} to Artaria, while you are etching them.  However, do not worry on that account, the only thing that I ask of you that now, you stop this etching and only write to me if you have actually started, if that is the case, then I will send you from here on occassion, through my friend, Count Waldstein[4] the manuscript of it,[5] from which you can then etch, since in it, various things have been improved and since I at least wish that my things be published in their possible completeness; otherwise, at this time, I was not willing to publish variations, since I wanted to wait until a few more important works of mine would be out there in the world, which will be published, soon.  

    Therefore, I ask you to write to me as soon as possible with respect to this. 

    If you wish to have a publisher here, I would gladly take it upon myself to point one out to you whom I know as a good man.  

    Moereover, I hope to at least receive two dozens of copies, and I wish that they will be etched more correctly since in the other V.[6] an important error was made in that, in the fth Variation, instead of indicating a minor with three naturals, one has let stand A major with 3 sharps.  

    You only sent me one copy, that was damned little, after all--since for the others[7], artaria gave me a good fee and 12 copies.  

    Write to me if you want something else from me, and what? -- 

Farewell and give my regards to Ries[8]  

Your willing friend

                                                                              L. v. Beethowen.

Vienna the 18th of June, 1794.[9]

A Monsieur Simrock Musicien de S.A. de Cologne a Bonn."

[Source:  Ludwig van Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 1, Letter No. 15, S. 23-24; Original:  Bonn, Beethoven-Haus, Bodmer Collection; to [1]: refers to  Nikolaus Simrock [1751 - 1832), who, as a horn player, had been a member of the Electoral Court Orchestra from 1775 on and who, in 1793, founded a very successful publishing house; to [2]:  probably refers to Beethoven's brother Kaspar Karl; to [3]: refers to Eight Variations for Piano for Four Hands on a theme by Count Waldstein, WoO67, with respect to which is noted that these Variations were published by Simrock in August/September, 1794; to [4]: refers to Count Waldstein; to [5]: refers to the fact that Beethoven probably meant the autograph of WoO67 that is in Paris, today; to [6]: refers to WoO 66, 13 Variations for Piano on "Es war einmal ein alter Mann", that had been published by Simrock in the fall of 1793, with respect to which is still pointed out that a key signature error in the sixth variation was corrected in later copies; to [7]: refers to the twelve Variations on a theme from Mozart's  Marriage of Figaro WoO 40, which was published by Artaria in July, 1793; to [8]: refers to Franz Anton Ries; to [9]: refers to the fact that the year had been added by someone else; details taken from p. 24].

After our look at the creation of these two works, it will certainly be interesting to gain a lively impression of them by listening to the following midi samples: 

Link to Midi Samples of WoO 66 and WoO 67 at Dominic Prevot's Beethoven Website

[Background Image: Beethoven's Broadwood Piano]