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    Ludwig van Beethoven Autograph Letter Signed "Beethoven." One page, in German, with address sheet, 5" x 8.25", [Vienna?]; [circa 1802 or 1812-1816]. In a short letter to a Mr. von Bauman, Beethoven requests the return of a piano trio and writes he will return soon with a violin sonata. The letter reads [English translation] as follows:

    "My Dear Sir

    I have to ask you again for my piano trio in b-flat. The same will be returned within a few days together with the violin sonata in g. I regret that I have to trouble you so often.
    In haste your devoted servant
    Beethoven"


    The piano trio in B-flat mentioned in this letter may be the Piano Trio in B-flat minor, Op. 11, which was composed by Beethoven in 1797 and published in Vienna the next year. Beethoven dedicated the piece to Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun. On the other hand, Beethoven may have been referring to the Piano Trio in B-flat manor, Op. 97, which he completed in 1811. It is commonly referred to as the Archduke Trio, because it was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria, the youngest of twelve children of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor. The trio was written late in Beethoven's so-called "middle period". He began composing it in the summer of 1810 and completed it in March 1811.

    If Beethoven is referring to the Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 11, then he may be referring to the Violin Sonata No. 8 in G-major, Op. 30, No. 3, the third of his Opus 30 set, written between 1801 and 1802, published in May 1803, and dedicated to Alexander of Russia. If, however, Beethoven is referring to the Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 97, then he may be referring to the Violin Sonata No. 10 in G-major, Op. 96, which was written in 1812 and published in 1816. This piece was dedicated to Beethoven's pupil Archduke Rudolp Johannes Joseph Rainier of Austria, who gave its first performance.

    The letter is accompanied by an English translation.

    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer and pianist whose music ranks amongst the most performed of the classical music repertoire. He remains to this day as one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music. His works span the transition from the classical period to the romantic era in classical music. His career has conventionally been divided into early, middle, and late periods. The "early" period, during which he forged his craft, is typically considered to have lasted until 1802. His "middle" period, sometimes characterized as "heroic", showed an individual development from the "classical" styles of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, typically covers the years 1802 to 1812, during which he increasingly suffered from deafness. In the "late" period from 1812 to his death in 1827, he extended his innovations in musical form and expression.

    Condition: The letter has usual folds, verso shows discoloring around edges, and some staining, plus a piece of paper attached to verso, possibly remnants of another surface to which the letter was previously attached. Overall good.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    12th Thursday
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