Beethoven, Symphony No. 7 for Harmoniemusik

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Arranged from the original manuscript is this version of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 for Harmoniemusik. Arranged anonymously and published by Steiner in Vienna.

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Lud­wig van Beethoven
Sym­pho­ny No.7

Date: 1813
Instru­men­ta­tion: Har­moniemusik (2 oboe, 2 clar­inet, 2 horn, 2 bas­soon, cpntrabassoon)
Dif­fi­cul­ty: Lev­el 4, Medium
Dura­tion: 32:00

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Beethoven’s pub­lish­er, Stein­er, when giv­en a new work by Beethoven would usu­al­ly adver­tise that they had the new work for, as in this case, orches­tra but they would at the same time adver­tise that they had this work avail­able for piano, piano four-hand, string quar­tet, Har­moniemusik, etc … many ver­sions. None of these exist­ed but if a cus­tomer came to the store and want­ed the string quar­tet ver­sion, Stein­er would have some­one make such a ver­sion and sell it to the cus­tomer. So the orig­i­nal adver­tise­ment for the 7th Sym­pho­ny men­tioned a ver­sion for Har­moniemusik. Since no one had found such a print­ed set of parts in any library in Europe it was sup­posed that this was just anoth­er phoney ad and that no such ver­sion was ever made.

Then an engi­neer in the Nether­lands, Willem Mid­del­hoven, an ama­teur horn play­er and ama­teur musi­col­o­gist, was one day read­ing old news­pa­pers in a library in Berlin when he saw a brief notice that the town band in Essen was going to per­form an orig­i­nal wind ver­sion of the Beethoven 7th. He goes to Essen, checks the state library there — noth­ing. Then to the uni­ver­si­ty library — noth­ing. But this last con­ver­sa­tion at the music desk was over­heard by a jan­i­tor sweep­ing the floor. He came over and said that he had a friend, now dead, who was the con­duc­tor of this old civic band and that his son still lived and might know something. 

So Mid­del­hoven goes to the address of the son — no one home. The next door neigh­bor says the son works until 5:00pm and so Mid­del­hoven parks in front of the house and waits until the son returns. The son, him­self now 70, said yes, his father was the con­duc­tor but upon his death the fam­i­ly threw out his entire col­lec­tion of band music, sav­ing only one ear­ly work as a sou­venir. “May I see it?” Out comes the only sur­viv­ing Stein­er pub­li­ca­tion of the parts for the 7th Sym­pho­ny arranged for Har­moniemusik. They were unques­tion­ably done from the auto­graph score of Beethoven.

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