Трио для фортепиано, флейты и фагота G-dur, WoO 37

Время создания: между 1786 / 1787 и 1790 гг., Бонн

Для фортепиано (в рукописи - clavicembalo), флейты и фагота.

1. Allegro
2. Adagio
3. Tema andante con Variazioni

This trio was written for Count Friedrich Von Wester-Holt-Gysenberg, whose daughter Maria was an excellent pianist and Beethoven's pupil. The count played the bassoon and his son Wilhelm, the Flute - so the family would have performed this trio together. According to his friend Bernhard Romberg, Beethoven was very much in love with Maria von Westerholt, but she was soon married to Baron Von Beverforde-Werries.

Beethoven would have been familiar with the music of Mozart during his early Bonn years, largely as a result of the Elector Maximilian Franz's enthusiasm for his music. This trio shows the influence of Mozart, Clementi and the highly regarded Franz Sterkel. The work is in 3 movements consisting of Allegro, Adagio and Thema andante con variazioni.

It is a remarkable fact that this piece is one of the few wind compositions by Beethoven with the original manuscript preserved - remarkable, as most of the Westerholt family music was destroyed in a fire. The trio was found amongst Beethoven's effects after his death and published posthumously, with the first edition not appearing until 1888.

The trio for piano, flute and bassoon, WoO 37, was composed between 1786 and 1790 when Beethoven still lived in Bonn. Appropriate for his position at the court, Beethoven primly noted on the manuscript: "Trio concertant à Clavibembalo, flauto, fagotto composto da Ludovico van Beethoven organista di S. S. Electeur de cologne." (Trio concertant for harpsichord, flute and bassoon, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, organist of his Eminence the Elector of Cologne.) The trio was written for the family of Count Friedrich Ludolf Anton von Westerholt-Gysenberg and was probably an ordered composition for the family music. The Count played the bassoon and kept a band comprised of his servants (mainly wind instruments). His daughter Maria Anna Wilhelmine was one of Beethoven's students and an excellent piano player. The family appreciated Beethoven a lot and he was a welcome guest. Allegedly, the composer was madly in love with Maria Anna Wilhelmine who later became Mrs. von Beverförde when she married.


Most of Beethoven's chamber works for winds were written for particular occasions and purposes. It is likely that he composed the Trio, WoO. 37, for the Von Westerholt family, whose father played the bassoon and son the flute while the daughter took piano lessons from the fifteen-year-old Beethoven. The daughter, Maria Anna, must have been a good student, for the keyboard part is difficult.

As is the case with many of Beethoven's Bonn-period pieces, the Trio in G major for piano, flute and bassoon, WoO. 37, was first printed in 1888 as part of the Complete Edition of Beethoven's Works, published in Leipzig by Breitkopf & Härtel.

In three movements, the Trio in G major is heavily influenced by Mozart, both in its large-scale characteristics and piano figurations. The piano part dominates the proceedings throughout. (Beethoven's autograph manuscript indicates "clavicembalo" instead of piano.)

Beethoven opens the Trio with an Allegro in 4/4 meter. The first theme, beginning with a unison arpeggio in all three instruments, sounds only once and immediately gives way to the transition, consisting of a flurry of scale passages in the flute and bassoon. The secondary theme, on D major, first appears in thirds in the piano part before being doubled by the wind instruments. A youthful abundance of material follows in the closing area. The development section is brief, varying passages from the second group and transition before the noisy entrance of the recapitulation. Predictably, the transitional passage in the recapitulation is altered from that of the exposition, and the second theme group material appears in G major.

The Adagio, in G minor, is set in 2/4 meter. The delicacy and detail of the movement are surprising in a work from this period.

A Thema andante con variationi, in 2/4, closes the work. Beethoven's theme is classically proportioned-two eight-measure tunes, each repeated and the last four measures of the second a reprise of the last four measures of the first. All seven of the variations follow this pattern and all are in the tonic except the fourth, in G minor. All are in the highly ornamental style typical of the era with none of the probing of harmonic relationships we hear in Beethoven's more mature sets of variations.

(All Music Guide)