Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Ludwig van Beethoven

As the headnote indicates, Beethoven may not have been the author of this small assemblage of dances. Little is known about their origin, though they were published in 1807. The Ecossaise, a dance with origins in both England and France, despite the word's Scottish derivation, did not figure prominently in Beethoven's output, though he did produce one in E flat for piano, WoO 86, and ones in D and G for wind ensemble, WoO 22 and 23, respectively.

The six for piano here are really played as one piece rather than as a set or collection. Each dance theme (or variant) is presented and then followed by the same refrain, which thus serves to bridge and unite all the material. The refrain has a hearty character as it dances jauntily up the keyboard on each of its appearances. The mood throughout the piece is playful and humorous, the pacing lively, the writing challenging in its mixture of elegance and rollicking fun. Each thematic segment lasts but a few seconds -- likewise for the refrain -- the whole passing by quickly, with a duration of a bit less than two minutes. The music is delightful and infectious throughout, even if the fingerprints of Beethoven cannot be clearly discerned.