5 пьес для механических часов, WoO 33 (1799)

С этими пятью пьесами, обнаруженными после смерти Бетховена, связано несколько вопросов. Главный из них - для какого инструмента они были написаны? Фортепиано, скрипка, арфа и другие наиболее распространенные в то время инструменты были сразу отвергнуты, а исследователи находились в полном недоумении. Однако, Albert Kopfermann аргументированно показал, что странный текст выглядит совершенно подходящим для так называемых Flotenuhr или Spieluhr - механического органа или музыкальных часов. Он заметил, что нотация в пьесе №1 F-dur полностью соответствует таковой в моцартовской Фантазии K. 608 для механических часов (Flotenuhr), текст которой, кстати, хранился у Бетховена. Другие обстоятельства также указывали на Flotenuhr, как инструмент, для которого Бетховен написал эти 5 пьес.

Вторая загадка - когда они были написаны? Считается, что №№4 и 5, оба в до мажоре, написаны не ранее 1792 года, а возможно, чуть позже. Остальные, вероятно, в 1799-1800. №1, Adagio, отличает очень красивая основная тема, которую Бетховен умело развивает. Он, безусловно, относился к этим сочинениям вполне серьезно, несмотря на необычный "состав инструментов". Scherzo соль мажор (№2) и Менуэт (№5) также отличаются развитым тематизмом.

Ни одна из пяти пьес не была опубликована до 20 века, поэтому не удивительно, что это сочинение относится к числу редкоисполняемых.


Музыкальные часы и механические органы восемнадцатого и девятнадцатого столетий с точки зрения современного человека могут выглядеть игрушкой, однако, их владельцы - обычно, представители аристократии - относились к ним, как к достаточно изощренным устройствам. Не в последнюю очередь потому, что это была единственная возможность послушать музыку вне концертного зала или салона. Издаваемые ими звуки, безусловно, имеют очень ограниченный выразительный диапазон, однако композиторы создававшие пьесы для этих устройств, включая таких титанов, как Гендель, Гайдн, Моцарт и Бетховен, относились к этому совершенно серьезно.

5 пьес для механических часов, WoO 33:

  • №1. Adagio assai
  • №2. Scherzo, allegro
  • №3. Allegro
  • №4. Allegro non piu molto
  • №5. Allegretto

Саймон Престон, орган


1. Adagio in F

Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and other prominent composers from the Classical and earlier eras produced pieces for musical clocks, and while their efforts were generally light and unserious, their craftsmanship was high, especially in the five works Beethoven composed for this specialized genre. This F major work, like his other four, sounds especially fine in keyboard transcriptions, though it must be said that certain chamber music treatments work well, too.

The main theme has a dreamy quality in its lovely serenity and Adagio pacing, but listeners may notice the obvious influence of Mozart here, too. The melody has much of the spirit, if not the musical substance, of the famous theme in the second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, "Elvira Madigan," and of the melody in the third movement of the Serenade No. 10, "Gran Partita." That said, Beethoven still makes the music much his own in his subtle harmonies and development of the theme. While there are moments of playfulness here and there in the piece, most of the time the music carries the listener along with a mesmerizing pull, not least because of the lovely, seeming flotation of the main theme and its accompanying materials.

№1. Adagio assai в аранжировке для флейты и органа:


2. Scherzo in G

Few listeners will likely ever hear Beethoven's five works for musical clock in the quaint, and obviously now outmoded, venue for which the composer intended them. Rather, they will find exposure to them—if they find it at all—via that seemingly ubiquitous idiom of transcription. This G major Scherzo, like its four siblings, exists in numerous and quite effective renditions for solo instruments, like organ or piano, or in chamber versions, such as for violin and piano.

Opening in the highest ranges—and remaining there throughout the work's brief duration—this perky effort conveys the same playful, light manner encountered in the other four pieces for musical clock. Yet here there is a greater sense of dreaminess, of innocence, the music elegant and gently playful, not as satiric or biting or amusing as most Beethoven scherzos. The main theme is bouncy and elfin, conveying mischief but balancing it with a sense of the naive, of the child-like. The piece lasts a mere two minutes or so, but brims with color and grace, its irresistible music seeming to chirp and laugh. Even the slightly more serious middle section does not break with the sense of fantasy and light-heartedness that dominates the outer sections.


3. Allegro in G

While the musical clock of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries might seem like a toy to the twenty first century ear and eye, its owners—usually members of the aristocracy—regarded it as a quite sophisticated device, not least because it was the only way to hear music away from the concert hall and parlors. Its chime-like tones may have limited its expressive range, but composers like Beethoven took compositions for the musical clock quite seriously. That said, the music Beethoven wrote for this device was, like this perky G major piece, uniformly light and playful in character.

The work opens with a bright, bouncy theme whose winding trajectory and busy manner suggest a mixture of the festive and zany. Yet there is a sense of elegance, too, in the short, mostly ascending phrases here, the music exuding a sort of unbuttoned aristocratic spirit. The theme's second subject maintains the chipper mood, while a variant that occupies the middle section offers a bit of contrast with a somewhat more generous dose of elegance, if not of decorum. The main theme returns to close out this delightful short work in much the same colorful manner in which it opened.


4. Allegro non piu molto in C

Musical clocks were a popular mechanical device over the past four centuries, serving as a sort of aristocratic counterpart in pre-twentieth century times to today's stereo and high-tech playback equipment. Works written for musical clocks were generally quite simple and typically have been transcribed for organ or chamber ensemble.

This C major piece is not so simple, however. Its Allegro pacing and plentiful contrapuntal activity take the music out of the fantasy world often associated with the chime-like tones of mechanical sound devices of the past. That said, the music is bright and festive, with a main theme whose jagged pathway brims with joy and energy, and spawns a second subject no less lively and equally happy. The middle section features a fairly elaborate development of the main theme and its related materials, the mood for once turning a bit serious here, the sense of playfulness not quite dispelled but reined in to allow for greater thematic expansion. The reprise brings back the lighter mood of the expository sections and the coda is brilliant in its sense of color and splendor. This nearly five-minute work would even sound well in a full-orchestral transcription, so rich and varied are its materials.


5. Minuet. Allegretto in C

Musical clocks were not regarded as toys in the eighteenth century, especially among the aristocracy. These mechanical devices were fairly sophisticated for their time and their manufacturers were able to draw compositions for them from some of the finest composers of the day, including Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. This C major Minuet is light and colorful, like the other four pieces written by Beethoven for musical clock. Yet it is a substantial work in certain ways, not least for its chameleonic character—a character able to withstand, even thrive in, transcriptions for keyboard and various solo instruments.

The work features an elegant main theme whose four-note opening is repeated before receiving a chipper reply consisting of five notes. The music conveys a perky stateliness here, calling to mind the grand ballrooms of the eighteenth and nineteenth century Austrian and German aristocracy. The Allegretto pacing is lively but unhurried, the music having a somewhat stiff manner to its rhythms at times. Still, the overall mood is a mixture of playfulness and joy throughout. The Trio has a more mellow and relaxed manner in its lower sonorities and softer dynamics, offering a subtle sense of contrast to the more festive and colorful outer sections.

(Robert Cummings, Rovi)


Цех по производству "музыкальных" часов.