Vienne: Artaria e Comp. [PN 627], [after 1796]. Folio. Sewn.  (title), 2-11, [i] (blank); 8, [ii] (blank); 7, [i] (blank); 7, [i] (blank), 7, [i] (blank) pp. Engraved. Watermark incorporating a star within a shield.
Moderately worn and soiled; some light foxing, heavier to title of first violin part. First violin part with old paper reinforcement to spine. Portion of imprint removed from title.
First Edition, later issue. Kinsky-Halm p. 12 (first issue). Weinhold/Dorfmüller p. 256. Hirsch IV, 241. For other issues see Hoboken 2, 27-30. In the first issue the opus number is printed as "IV" and the price "f2." In the present issue "4" appears in manuscript and there is no printed price. In addition, the number "11-1/2B" is printed at the foot of the first page of music in the "Violino Primo" part, most probably a printer's notation referring to the number of sheets required to print the part.
Opus 4 is an original work, drawing on material from Beethoven's then-unpublished Octet for Winds (op. 103), "... with revisions sufficient to warrant calling it a new composition." Solomon: Beethoven, p. 102. "At some time before February 1791, probably when he was composing the C major Piano Sonata, Op. 2, no. 3, with its closely related opening theme, Beethoven re-cast the Octet (op. 103) as a String Quintet, Op. 4, and comparison of the two versions shows considerable light on his development as an instrumental composer during those four important formative years... The Quintet is by no means an arrangement of the Octet; unlike Mozart's parallel recasting of his Octet for the same combination of instruments (K.388) as a String Quintet (K.406), it is in many respects a new work. Everything has become more plastic; stiff formulae are softened; the texture is lightened in weight but enriched by polyphony and the devices of 'obbligato accompaniment'. The harmony, too, has become richer... Structurally everything is worked out in the Quintet on lines that are at the same time broader and subtler: the exposition of the first movement of the Quintet is 88 bars long as compared with the 69 of the Octet, the development 77 as compared with 56. The sixteen-bar periods that open minuet and trio of the Octet are expanded to 22 and 24 bars respectively in the Quintet, and the structure becomes much clearer, less fussy... All in all, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the difference between Octet and Quintet represents the whole difference between the "al fresco," serenade music that was just going out of fashion and the new finely wrought quartet style of late Haydn with its 'openwork texture,' its so called 'durchbrochene Arbeit'." Gerald Abraham in The New Oxford History of Music, Vol. VIII: The Age of Beethoven 1790-1830, p. 260.
Sources are limited to sketches only. The actual autograph has been lost, thus making the first edition of considerable importance as a primary source for the work. Item #17607
Price: $3,250.00 other currencies