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Ludwig van Beethoven, Sinfonie Nr. 6 (F-Dur) op. 68 (Pastorale), Partitur, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, BH 64

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Here you can see the Beethoven-Archiv's greatest treasure: the complete autograph score of the Sixth Symphony op. 68, the "Pastoral" Symphony. It would, however, be wrong to suppose that this autograph score is the final stage of a process, resulting in a finished and "clean" manuscript. The autograph score actually enables us to follow the compositional process, as there are several layers visible under the completed musical text.

As with many of his score manuscripts Beethoven used music paper which he had prepared in advance by dividing each page into three large bars using a ruler. They simplified the writing process and he could subdivide them as necessary. When he began writing out the score Beethoven started with the more important parts, the so-called leading parts. He notated a kind of frame which he later filled out (similar to the way a half-timbered house is built). On some pages he did not even add the "filling" at a later stage - he merely wrote "come sopra", meaning that the passage should be the same as an earlier passage.
Sometimes Beethoven changed the layout of the page while working, meaning that he had to delete bars or groups of bars, e.g. on leaf 32. The first bar on the reverse, leaf 32v, was notated in advance, but Beethoven managed to fit it on the other side (leaf 32r) as the last bar when he was working on it. He therefore deleted it on the reverse (leaf 32 v). Beethoven also made changes to the structure of the composition, shortening some sections or expanding others, sometimes changing complete phrases. The lower empty staves on many of the pages contain hasty sketches for bars which can be found higher up on the page in the score. Beethoven did not write down new melodic ideas or sketches but mainly tried out the instrumentation of critical sections. They were made at a relatively early stage of the composition.

Once he had written down the rest of the parts, Beethoven had a more or less finished, complete score. Then he proceeded to go through the complete work again and substantially re-worked many sections. While doing so, he sometimes reversed previously made changes. In cases like this he wrote "bleibt" ("leave") next to a deleted section, e.g. leaf 69r (image 139). Finally a reliable professional copyist, Joseph Klumpar, who had often worked for the composer, looked through the score as he had to prepare the copies of the orchestral parts from it. While going through the autograph score Klumpar also proofread it and made comments on unclear sections or on mistakes, to which he drew the composer's attention, who then corrected them. In such cases Klumpar wrote "NB" in the margin. After the passage had been corrected, the comment was deleted. On Leaf 52r, for example, Beethoven had forgotten some notes. The copyist realized this, so the composer added them using a red crayon. Klumpar then deleted his remark in the left margin - done. Beethoven presumably wrote out the fourth movement a little later than the other movements. There are no instrumentation sketches; he used a different ink, a different binding and the paper was not divided up into three large bars in advance. (J.R.)

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