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.