Экосез D-dur для военного оркестра, WoO 22

Время создания: лето 1810 года.

Ансамбль духовых инструментов Берлинского филармонического оркестра

The écossaise was a dance quite popular in parts of Europe and England in the early nineteenth century. The word is derived from the French word for "Scottish," but the dance itself can be traced to England and France in the late eighteenth century. Beethoven found the music of other cultures, specifically that from the British Isles, quite fascinating; around this time he embarked on well over a hundred arrangements of folk songs from that region for Scottish publisher George Thomson. True, the effort was mainly due to the handsome fees paid by Thomson, but the composer's dabbling in British music was not always tied to money: consider pieces like his Seven Variations on "God Save the King", WoO 78 (1802 - 1803), and the Five Variations on "Rule Britannia", WoO 79 (1803), both for piano and both written to satisfy no commission or other remunerative offer. Beethoven also extended the folk-song project to texts from other countries after his commission from Thomson had run out.

Around 1810 Beethoven wrote three marches for military band (WoO 18, in F; WoO 19, in F and WoO 20, in C), all with scoring similar to that of this écossaise. There followed a Polonaise in 1810, that, with the WoO 19 March, is among his best compositions for wind ensemble. The mood and character of this Ecossaise are consistent with these other works, showing lightness, effervescence, and much color. It is scored for piccolo, contrabassoon, trumpet, pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns, and percussion. There is a second écossaise from 1810, WoO 23, for military band. Its original score was lost, and it survives only in a piano reduction by Carl Czerny.

The Ecossaise in D here is light and deftly scored but not a particularly memorable work. Beethoven withheld it from publication during his lifetime, but the music was published posthumously. Melodic material is situated in the piccolo, oboes and clarinets; horns and trumpet occasionally reinforce a few of the melodic figures. The first of the two eight-measure phrases, which is somewhat static, ends on the dominant. The second, contrasting melody picks up where the first left off, reversing the direction of the first tune and closing on D major. Beethoven supplies an optional eight-measure trio, in G major, that in terms of rhythm, melody and accompaniment is very different from the main body of the piece.

(Robert Cummings, Rovi)