While Beethoven had written many grand works in various genres, he also composed more than a few celebratory or occasional pieces of no great significance. He was, in one respect, like Liszt (if one is allowed to draw on such a seemingly unlikely comparison) in that he often did not attempt to write a masterpiece in every compositional endeavor. Many of his canons and puzzle canons, as well as numerous other works, attest to this tendency.
This Cantata campestre is one such "occasional" work. The occasion was a celebration held in honor of Dr. Giovanni Malfatti, one of Beethoven's physicians. It was arranged by the composer's personal physician, Andreas Bertolini, who had asked him write the piece. The event took place on June 24, 1814, in Weinhaus, at the Malfatti villa. Beethoven used texts by Clemente Bondi (1748-1821), who was a Jesuit priest as well as a poet. Originally, the text was in Italian, though the surviving score was in German. The original text was restored by Harry Goldschmidt.
In any event, this short work features jovial melody and much colorful singing, all quite appropriate for the occasion. Certainly Beethoven demonstrates taste in his handling of the music's celebratory nature, never going over-the-top with too much flash or bombast.
The score was published posthumously, and like a number of the composer's works without opus numbers, was probably not intended to reach print.