12 менуэтов для оркестра, WoO 7

Время создания: 1795 г.

No.1 in D
No.2 in Bb
No.3 in G
No.4 in Eb
No.5 in C
No.6 in A
No.7 in D
No.8 in Bb
No.9 in G
No.10 in Eb
No.11 in C
No.12 in F

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,
Neville Marriner


The Twelve Minuets WoO 7 and Twelve German Dances WoO 8 were written for the ball of the Pension Society of Viennese artists on 22 November 1795. Beethoven had composed them free of charge "out of love for his fellow artists". After all the ball (a masked ball) was a benefit event by the Pension Society "to enhance the financial basis of its fund for its valued members, widows and orphans". Two years later on 26 November 1797 the dances and minuets were repeated at the same event on account of their great popularity. Already three weeks after the ball in 1795 they appeared in a piano reduction, as it was a well-known fact that they "had been received with applause", as emphasized in the publisher's advertisement. Beethoven revised the Minuets WoO 7 for the ball in 1797, fine-tuning the sound and its effect. As far as WoO 8 is concerned, it is more difficult to prove whether there was a revision due to the different situation with the sources. However, we can assume that Beethoven also brought his new knowledge and experiences into the composition.


As was often his practice with his orchestral dances, Beethoven supplied alternate versions of these minuets, for piano and for two violins and bass. The composer wrote this collection for the Pension Society for Viennese Painters, a well-funded group able to obtain the services of some of the finest composers of the day, including Haydn.

These 12 minuets all share the same form: the main theme, eight or sixteen bars in length, is played and immediately repeated; it is followed by a trio section which is also repeated; and then the minuet concludes with a restatement of the opening dance. Beethoven scored all the trios for three solo winds. It should be noted that the word "trio" here refers to the middle section of a minuet, not to the number of instruments or players, though Beethoven may have taken the Baroque or numerical view of the term in these pieces.

Most of the dances are charming creations that feature delightful scoring throughout. Among the more attractive numbers are the first three, the sixth, tenth and twelfth. Beethoven managed to impart much color and style to these minuets, and while they are not among his finest work, neither are they to be dismissed as insignificant.

(All Music Guide)