THE HISTORY BEHIND THE SKETCH LEAF AND BEETHOVEN'S 'KING STEPHAN'
The sketch leaf, apparently unknown to scholars prior to its discovery and sale, belongs to a book of sketches that Beethoven used while writing his stage music 'König Stephan' (King Stephan) in 1810.
Dr. Carmelo Comberiati, author and professor of Music History at Manhattanville College explains: 'He [Beethoven] created his own book from various paper on hand and used it while at the spa in Teplitz from late 1810 into mid 1811.
He finished King Stephan between August 25 and September 13 in 1810. The sketches are of the first chorus (after the overture). It was commissioned for the opening of the new theater in Pest (as in Budapest) along with The Ruins of Athens. First performed 2/9/1812, it was published as op. 117.
King Stephan I founded Hungary in 1000. Emperor Francis I of Austria commissioned the new theater, and Beethoven made most sense as the composer to honor the occasion of the opening. The Austrian emperor was honoring Hungary's loyalty, thus the subject matter on a text by August Von Kotzebue.'
The sketch leaf gives insight into his work process. Parts are only in pencil and others are also done over in pen -- that’s evidence that this is the area where Beethoven decided, "Okay, that’s the theme I’m going to use."
The sketch shows off Beethoven's 'stormy personality.
Beethoven would write out his ideas. With most composers, we just have the final product — they threw the rest out. Beethoven didn’t throw anything out,' Comberiati said, 'I found the sketchbook, and referenced the exact piece, we put it all together.
The sheet of paper was revealing of Beethoven's impatience.
We can see the fire as it happened. He just went wild with a crescendo of activity. There’s so much impatience there — I can’t imagine working for the guy. But that aspect of his character is wonderful.
Read more at The Daily Mail