Lifestyle & Belief

Beethoven work revived, 200 years on


An employees poses next to an installation by US artist John Baldessari entitled 'Beethoven's Trumpet (With Ear)' at the Saatchi Gallery in central London on May 26, 2011.



A Beethoven movement that was lost in 1799 is to be performed for the first time in more than 200 years.

The piece will premiere in the English city of Manchester on Thursday, after it was carefully pieced together from early drafts.

According to the BBC, Beethoven wrote the slow movement for his string quartet Opus 18 Number Two, and then discarded it to compose another version in 1800.

It was discovered and reconstructed by Barry Cooper, a professor of music at the University of Manchester.

The BBC said Cooper – one of the world's leading Beethoven experts – “reassembled the surviving sketches, filling in any gaps himself”.

Although preliminary sketches from Beethoven's notebooks survived for all 74 bars of the string quartet piece, half of the bars were written for just one instrument.

Cooper told the BBC he completed the missing instrument parts himself:

You've got a pretty good idea of what the music is like. The movement will certainly be strikingly similar to what Beethoven wrote. Obviously it can't possibly be exactly the same.

The original slow movement of Beethoven's Quartet in G, Op 18 no 2, was written when he was 28 years old, for his Bohemian patron, Prince Lobkowicz, reports The Guardian.

It was only his second string quartet and, when he had completed a group of six such works – the Op 18 quartets – he went back to the two first and revised them substantially in 1800, discarding the whole of the second movement of the quartet in G.

The completed movement will be performed by the university's resident string quartet Quatuor Danel at the Martin Harris Centre in Manchester on Thursday.