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Ludwig van Beethoven, Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 2 (B-Dur) op. 19, Kadenz zum 1. Satz, Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H. C. Bodmer, HCB Mh 13

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A cadenza for the Archduke

The cadenza is really the point in a concerto at which the soloist is given the opportunity to freely improvise. It is here that he can show off his virtuosity and technical ability. At the point where the cadenza is intended, the composer does not provide a musical text; the soloist is thus able to show off his skill completely unfettered. However, not everyone is in a position to improvise an interesting cadenza. Many composers therefore wrote cadenzas for their pupils and friends as a kind of model to help them. Beethoven also had piano pupils, the most well-known of whom was a member of the imperial household: Archduke Rudolph. The composer obviously wrote the cadenza for the first movement of the Second Piano Concerto for the Archduke. On the top left-hand corner it bears the call number "74 Beethoven" in pencil, showing it belonged to Rudolph's music library, where it was kept with a first edition of the concerto. (J.R.)

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