Ludwig van Beethoven

Piece for musical clock in F major ("Adagio assai"), WoO 33/1

    Description by Robert Cummings

    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.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Pavane / Pavane Records ADW 7580
    2009 Meridian Records 84566
    2009 Meridian Records 84549
    2009 Raven 914
    2009 Danacord 667/68
    2008 Sony BMG 88697328932
    2005 Orfeo 341941
    2004 Loft Recordings 1058
    1998 Hyperion 67060
    1997 Arsis Audio 104
    1996 Organ Historical Society 92
    1996 BIS 123/125
    1995 Raven 320
    1995 BIS 609
    1994 Hungaroton 31464
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 48200
    1990 Sony Classical 44552
    Priory Records 289
    EMA Productions 9501