BEETHOVEN’S SIX VARIATIONS POUR LE PIANOFORTE, 1803 FIRST EDITION
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van. VI Variations Pour le Pianoforte composées et dediées A Madame la Princesse Odeschalchi neé Comtesse de Keglevics. Oeuv. 34. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Härtel, . Oblong quarto, modern half burgundy morocco, marbled boards; pp. 13. $4500.
First edition, fully engraved.
Composed in 1802, the variations struck even Beethoven with their originality: “Usually I have to wait for other people to tell me when I have new ideas, because I never know this myself. But this time-I myself can assure you that… the manner is quite new to me” (Cooper, Beethoven, 116). “Beethoven combined his original idea of using a different metre in each successive variation with the notion of using a sharply contrasting key too. To prevent the whole work falling apart, he had to use some unifying factor, and this was the opening phrase, which recurs several times in each variation and is often left more or less intact” (Cooper, Beethoven, 118-9). The variations “exude spontaneity and provide ample opportunity for brilliant pianistic display. They give the impression… that Beethoven originally improvised them and only later committed them to paper” (Cooper, Beethoven Compendium, 240). Kinsky, 85-86.
An about-fine copy with a lovely engraved title page, attractively bound. Rare.