New Light on Some Beethoven Works of Doubtful Authenticity

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Several works attributed to Beethoven in the past are now known to be spurious. Some others are of doubtful authenticity and have not been previously confirmed one way or the other. Those examined here are Three Duos for clarinet and bassoon (WoO 27); the Flute Sonata in B flat (Anh. 4); the Piano Variations on ‘Ich hab’ ein kleines Hüttchen nur’ (Anh. 10); the Six Waltzes (Anh. 14), especially nos. 2 and 3; and Two Sonatinas for piano (Anh. 5). Stylistic and external evidence are considered, but the most useful criterion proves to be notational evidence, for some of these works use notational features uncharacteristic of Beethoven. The conclusions are that these works are spurious apart from the two waltzes, which remain doubtful, and the Piano Variations, which show close similarities to Beethoven’s Righini Variations (WoO 65) and are almost certainly authentic. They are based on a song by Sterkel, whom Beethoven met in 1791, and were published in 1830 by Franz Philipp Dunst, who obtained several other manuscripts of unpublished Beethoven works from other sources and evidently did the same with the Sterkel Variations.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-101
Number of pages25
JournalAd Parnassum
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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