Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven wrote this, his first set of Bagatelles, at a time when his style was rapidly evolving. He would turn out his watershed Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" the following year and thereafter regularly strike out new paths in the symphonic, keyboard, choral, and chamber genres. These seven Bagatelles, however, while well-crafted and quite attractive, are light and relatively unadventurous works. The E flat major First, marked Andante grazioso -- quasi allegretto, is a charming piece, jaunty and playful in its catchy main theme and slightly weightier in its brief middle section. The Bagatelle No. 2 in C major is a Scherzo marked Allegro. Its main part features a light, jumpy theme followed by a serious second subject. The trio section features a vibrant theme of mostly ascending sonorities based on the second subject. The ensuing Bagatelle in F major "Allegretto" is short at about two minutes and quite mellow in its mostly middle-register playfulness. The Andante Fourth, in A major, begins gently and gracefully enough, but coarsens its manner a bit in later contrasting episodes. The ensuing Bagatelle in C major "Allegro ma non troppo" is colorful in its ascending arpeggiations and lively, stop-and-start theme. No. 6, in D major (Allegretto -- quasi andante), is gentle and upbeat in its leisurely pacing and graceful manner. The concluding Bagatelle in A flat major "Presto," at just under two minutes, is the shortest and most driven Bagatelle. It is also filled with that characteristic Beethovenian mischief and restlessness, shifting from one idea to the next, then back to an earlier one, but now showing imaginative development.