6 менуэтов для оркестра, WoO 10

Время создания: 1795 год.
Оригинальная версия утрачена, сохранилось только переложение для фортепиано.

Михаил Плетнёв, фортепиано

These six pieces exist only in a piano version, though there is strong evidence to suggest that they were originally scored for orchestra and also possibly for two violins and cello. The last three minuets contain features in the writing that clearly suggest an orchestral guise. Moreover, the similar Six Minuets, WoO 9, exist in a version for two violins and bass (or cello), and this latter set may have been the final half of the cycle. It is thought that this piano arrangement might have been made a year after the original score, which was lost.

Beethoven's early output is uneven, and that fact could hardly be better illustrated better than in this successive pair of minuet collections. The earlier set clearly lacks the sophistication and imagination of the present group. Each of the items in the WoO 10 set features a trio, and both main section and trio are cast in two parts, with each reprised. All six offer melodic and harmonic appeal, with greater lyricism generally coming in the trios as usual. The well-known Minuet in G is the second item here, and its elegant main theme, one of the composer's most memorable early melodies, demonstrates his skill at fashioning attractive light music. Certainly this minuet conjures colorful images of nobles dancing amid opulent surroundings and captures the atmosphere of late eighteenth-century European high society as well as any music from the period.

(All Music Guide)

Like all of Beethoven's minuets, those of WoO 10 are in 3/4 meter at a moderate tempo, unlike his German Dances, which, while adhering to the same formal pattern as the minuets, are faster. Beethoven creates variety in the set through his choice of keys. The minuets of WoO 10 are all in major keys—C, G, E flat, B flat, D and C—with the first and last set in the same key, giving us the sense of a self-contained set of dances. Furthermore, by choosing the keys of E flat and B flat for the central pieces, Beethoven creates an overall sense of C minor. Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven composed numerous minuets for various ensembles that were used for court balls in the famous Redoutensaal in Vienna. Nearly all of them are in major keys. Beethoven's Minuets, WoO 10, were most likely composed in 1795. Evidently, these works existed an orchestrated version, which has been lost. There is also evidence that Beethoven arranged the minuets for two violins and bass, as he did those of WoO 9. In any case, the piano version of the WoO 10 Minuets was printed by in 1796 by Artaria & Co. in Vienna.

Set in G major, the second minuet of WoO 10 opens with a single-beat pickup, as do four others in the set. Typically, the Minuet section consists of two eight-measure phrases, the second closing with a return to the material of the first. The first theme contrasts with the second in its dotted rhythms and repetitive ideas, as well as its close on the dominant (D major). Each of the two phrases is repeated. The Trio could not be more different from the Minuet—a fluid, spinning melody over rising arpeggios creates a continuity very unlike that of the Minuet. In the second phrase of the Trio, Beethoven goes even further in the direction of fluency by eliminating the quarter-note arpeggios of the first phrase and giving both voices a continuous eighth-note motion. The performer is directed to repeat the Minuet section.

(John Palmer, Rovi)