Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Ludwig van Beethoven

This is an obscure piece in Beethoven's output, made more obscure by the fact that it has been listed both as a Bagatelle in C minor and Intermezzo in C minor. To make things a bit more cloudy, this work was originally intended to be the finale of the Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1, begun around 1795 and completed in 1797.

Today, this piece is generally given the title listed in the headnote above. In actuality it is really a scherzo, and naturally features a trio. The character of the music is quite similar to that of the Prestissimo finale that Beethoven ultimately decided to use in the Fifth Sonata. The music of the main section of the Scherzo has that manic Beethovenian quality about it, while the mood of the trio contrasts with it quite effectively with its more lyrical demeanor.

After supplanting this work with the new finale of the Fifth Sonata, Beethoven revised it, in 1798, and again in 1822. Apparently, he felt it was a worthwhile composition, although he still did not seek publication. Some musicologists have noted that much of the Presto's piano writing augurs the more mature style of Beethoven, and while that may be so, these advanced features may have been added in the 1822 revision. Overall this work must be considered a solid early effort that was a small part of the evolutionary process of Beethoven's development. It was published posthumously.