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Beethoven’s Last Piano Piece? (free sheet music + challenge)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s supposedly “last piano work” has been found by musicologist Peter McCallum, while studying the composer’s final music sketchbook at the Berlin’s state library.


The 32 bars piece was found in the so called “Kullak sketchbook”, one of Beethoven’s working documents full of ideas, jotted notes and musical fragments. Mr McCallum noticed what he calls the “Bagatelle in F minor” in the middle of Beethoven’s sketches for the String Quartet Op. 135.
Obviously it wasn’t clear it was a piano piece instantly because Beethoven often used a chaotic sort of shorthand.
Mr McCallum said he believed the piece was written in October 1826, a few months before Beethoven’s death in March 1827.

“I didn’t know it was a piano piece until I actually sat down and tried to write it out,” says McCallum. “Beethoven almost never used clefs or key signatures so you have to think about it … but once you do crack the code it’s clear.” Mr McCallum adds.

Mr McCallum’s pianist wife Stephanie used her husband’s transcription to make the first recording of the piece—Bagatelle in F minor—which is just 54 seconds.

First recording by Australian pianist Stephanie McCallum is available online here.

Free sheet music to download and print:
Beethoven, Bagatelle in F minor – transcribed by Piano Street

A challenge…

Unlike Mozart who worked out his compositions in his mind and then wrote them straight off, Beethoven kept private notes all his working life in which each composition grew from initial idea through constant revision, bar by bar, until he achieved a final version.

One of Beethoven’s other sketchbooks, “Landsberg 5″ from 1809, including over 100 pages of sketches will soon be available as a downloadable pdf from Piano Street.
It includes sketches for one of his Piano Concertos, the Piano Sonata Op 81 and much more. Deciphering Beethoven’s rather sloppy handwriting is definitely not an easy task and by studying these sketches you will get an idea of the expertise needed for making discoveries such as McCollum’s but one first step is to take the challenge and figure out…

Which Piano Concerto theme is hiding on page 14 of the Landsberg 5 sketchbook?

Full page: Beethoven – Sketchbook “Landsberg 5″ (1809), page 14

(Beethoven’s five Piano Concertos – sheet music)

Send your answer (specify movement) to webmaster@pianostreet.com before Sunday 30 November and, if correct, you will get a free copy of the Landsberg 5 sketchbook (pdf-file) when it becomes available at Piano Street.

Special prize draw: Three people submitting the correct answer will each get one year of Piano Street Gold membership (value 36 USD).

Uptate 8 December:

The correct answer is Piano Concerto no 5, 3rd mvt and the lucky winners of Gold memberships are:

Jose Valladares
Stephan Ascher
Sakari Väkevä

Congratulations!



/nilsjohan

 
     


  1. JanErik G. Lindholm Says:

    Gråbo 081115

    Well, a fantastic new piece -beautiful played…

  2. Melvene Holly Says:

    cooool!!

  3. Louisa E. Foster Says:

    Piano Street Company:

    I am not able to play the Concertos but I felt so excited to be able to see an actual jotting of notes by the Master, himself!!

    I enjoy your Web Site very much. Keep up the good work

    Louisa,
    Peterborough, Ontario, canada

  4. Gozum Says:

    Its hard to believe this is Beethoven. It does not have many of the harmonic twists typical of Beethoven, and more towards his life’s end, his music was far more formless that this very structured Bagatelle. Its a pretty piece nevertheless.

  5. Merisa Says:

    Thank you so much

  6. Farshad Rezai Says:

    wow, thank you so much for sharing this music!

  7. Dhina Mogan Says:

    This is amazing!..Thank you so much!

  8. MIA PANGGABEAN PANJAITAN Says:

    What amazing !
    Thank GOD , we still can have the last piano’s piece from BEETHOVEN after 181 years.

    Salute to Mc Callum’s family.

    Best regards

    MIA PANGGABEAN PANJAITAN

  9. Erin Says:

    Thank you so much for these amazing music. i’m indebted!!!

  10. Fabrizia from Italy Says:

    Listening to this piece has really touched me… Thanks so much, I just printed it and looking forward to play it. Thank you, thank you and Happy Christmas to you all!

  11. Lamb Peaches Says:

    This is great. I’m going to enjoy learning to play this. Thank you for the posting.

  12. Marsha Says:

    I really enjoyed that little bagatelle. It sounds almost like he was writing it for harpsichord rather than piano, though. Love me some Ludwig!!

  13. innov8music Says:

    So fascinating to hear a piece lost in time – in such a way. Looking forward to see what else life has in store for the musical future..

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