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Ludwig van Beethoven, Skizzenblatt zu "Adelaide" op. 46 und Präludium zu einer Quartettfuge Hess 245, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H. C. Bodmer, HCB Mh 62

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Beethoven probably also thought "waste not, want not", at least as far as his music paper was concerned. The notations on the front and reverse of this autograph leaf were for very different occasions. What is now taken to be the reverse was probably originally the front page (the wide margin is on the right-hand side), and so Beethoven first wrote on this side. Here he wrote a four-part movement, a prelude to a fugue, perhaps for a string quartet. This draft is part of the material that Beethoven wrote between 1794 and 1795 during his tuition with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger: it was probably an exercise in counterpoint. A little later Beethoven was working on the setting of the song "Adelaide" op. 46 (it was published in February 1797). Perhaps he had just had an inspiration but did not have any music paper to hand. Whatever the reason, he took the empty reverse of the page (which is now the front) and sketched out the first part of the song. (J.R.)

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