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Ludwig van Beethoven, Romanze für Violine und Orchester (G-Dur) op. 40, Partitur, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H. C. Bodmer, HCB BMh 9/49

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To hell with the space!

The Romance for Solo Violin and Orchestra op. 40 is from around 1800. Beethoven tried to sell it to several publishers. Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig and Johann André in Offenbach declined the Romance, but Hoffmeister & Kühnel in Leipzig printed it in December 1803. The complete autograph score was, however, not used as the engraver's model for this first edition because there are no traces of any entries by the engraver or any other publisher's notes in it. On the contrary: on leaves 7r (image 13) and 7v (image 14) there are entries in a strange hand ("piz", and "col arco" have each been added once), which lead us to conclude there was a copy, which is now missing. The copyist who had done the engraver's model had probably added these entries.

Beethoven began writing the autograph score very carefully. He divided the score into groups of instruments so that it could be read more easily: the wind at the top, then the strings, with the solo violin in the lowest stave. A line was left free between each group and marked with the word "spatium" (Latin meaning space) (image 3). On leaf 4v (image 8) he forgot to leave the empty line between the wind and the strings. From leaf 5r (image 9) onwards Beethoven no longer notated the solo violin in the lowest stave but in the last but one. The lowest stave has been left empty from this page onwards. He obviously noticed this mistake, but decided to ignore it: "Hol der Teufel das Spatium" (To hell with the space) is written in Beethoven's hand in the lowest stave on leaf 5r (image 9). (J.R.)

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