Chapter II: Organ Works of the Bonn Period
Beethoven wrote three organ works while studying under Neefe in Bonn: the two-voice Fugue in D Major (WoO 31) and two Preludes though the Major Keys, op. 39, nos. 1-2. They are the only organ compositions published in Beethoven’s Gesamtausgabe  and the only ones generally accepted as organ works.
Fugue in D Major (WoO 31)
The two-voice Fugue in D Major, Beethoven’s earliest extant organ work, was composed in Bonn in 1783.  Beethoven probably played the piece at his examination for the post of second court organist in February 1784. 
A manuscript for the Fugue in D Major is listed in the catalog of Beethoven’s estate under item 171: “2 vollständige Manuscripte vom 12ten Jahre des Compositeurs-eine Fuge und ein Concert für’s Pianoforte.” The Viennese publisher Domenico Artaria purchased a large portion of Beethoven’s estate, including the two manuscripts which he obtained for two florins. In 1901 the Artaria collection was given to the Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek (now the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek [DDR],  which retained it until 1945. In that year a large number of manuscripts, including the Fugue in D Major (identified as Manuscript Artaria 124), were moved to the Westdeutsche Bibliothek (now the Staatsbibliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz) in Marburg.  Artaria 124 has recently been relocated in the Staatsblbliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz in West Berlin. 
The original autograph is not extant. Artaria 124 is an early fair copy in an unknown hand. The manuscript consists of two folios in oblong format. Folios 1r and 2v are six-stave paper; ff. 1v and 2r are eight-stave paper. Folio 1r, the title-page, reads: “Eine Zweistimmige / Fuge / verfertigt von Ludwig / van Beethoven / im alter von 11 jahren.” In the upper left-hand corner of f. 1v are the words: “Eine zweistimmige in geschwinder Bewegung / Fuga.” The fugue is written on two-stave braces in soprano and bass clefs. Folio 1v contains measures 1-44 of the piece; f. 2r, measures 45-80; and f. 2v, measures 81-95. The word “pedal” is written beneath the second staff in the first measure (i.e., measure 81) of f. 2v. An “Adagio” tempo indication appears in the penultimate measure. At the end of the fugue is the word “Fine.” No manual changes are indicated. 
The Fugue in D Major was first published in 1888 in the final volume of Beethoven’s Gesamtausgabe. It has since been published by Liturgical Music Press in a collection entitled Organ Works and by Hinrichsen, edited by Ludwig Altman. 
The form of the Fugue in D Major is outlined in figure 1.
Fig. 1. Formal analysis of Beethoven's Fugue in D Major (WoO 31)
|section||measure||voice||thematic material||scale degree||key|
|38||l||sub (false entry)||iii||f#|
|67||l||sub (stretto, false entry)||iii|
|84||sop||sub (stretto, false entry)||I|
Of particular note is the early modulation, in measure 10, to the subdominamt, a key traditionally reserved for the close of a piece.  Even the second modulation to that key, in measure 46, occurs less than halfway through the piece, and Beethoven avoids the subdominant completely as the fugue approaches its close.
A statement of the subject is answered at the fifth only twice: at measures 4 (fig. 2) and 77.
In all other paired entrances, both statements are at the same pitch (measures 10, 25, 42, 52, 65, and 85). In paired entrances at the same pitch, a quasi-stretto is present: the statements are at two-measure intervals (fig. 3).
Episodic materials are treated sequentially. All episodes include melodic sequences; in addition, episodes 1 (fig. 4a) and 4 (fig. 4b) contain convincing harmonic sequences.
The fugue’s two-part counterpoint exhibits a large degree of linear independence. Rhythmic reciprocity is present throughout, particularly in the episodes (fig. 5).
The overall melodic contours display much contrary and oblique motion. Similar motion is clearly subordinate, and passages in parallel thirds or sixths are completely absent.
The pedals are added at measure 81 and play a doubled dominant pedal tone (fig. 6).
Although the texture at this point is literally four-voice, the pedals simply sustain doubled octaves until the penultimate measure, where they play single notes. A quasi four-voice texture does appear at measures 86-89, however, when the soprano half notes are dotted and the bass sustains (fig. 6). The final two measures are a homophonic cadential extension.
Comparison with Bach’s Fugue in E Minor, BWV 855
When he composed the Fugue in D Major, Beethoven was studying Johann Sebastian Bach’s Wohltemperiertes Clavier with Neefe. A comparison of the fugue with Bach’s Fugue in E Minor (WTC, book 1, no. 10),  the only two-voice fugue in the Wohltemperiertes Clavier, may therefore prove informative in evaluating the Fugue in D Major.
As shown in figure 8, the Fugue in E minor is formally concise and compact. Every complete statement of the subject is answered at the fifth. In contrast to Beethoven’s five opening statements of the subject, only two subject entrances precede the first episode of Bach’s fugue.
Fig. 8. Formal analysis of Bach's Fugue in E Minor
|39||u||sub (false entry)||i|
Bach avoids prolonged tonicization of the subdominant at the beginning of his fugue. The subject does appear in the subdominant in measure 20, however and at the close.
Like those in the Fugue in D Major, the episodes in the Fugue in E Minor are primarily sequential (fig. 9). Bach’s fugue has fewer episodes, however, and is shorter.
Although structurally superior to Beethoven’s fugue, the Fugue in E Minor exhibits contrapuntal weaknesses. In measures 19-20 (fig. 10a) and 38 (fig. 10b) of Bach’s fugue, for example, passages in parallel octaves lack contrapuntal independence.
Passages in parallel thirds and sixths occur in measures 6-10, 24, 26, and 28-29 (fig. 11). The Fugue in E Minor has little rhythmic independence. Except for measures 15-18 and 34-37, the voices primarily move together in sixteenth notes.
Beethoven’s Fugue in D Major compares favorably with Bach’s Fugue in E Minor. The former exhibits structural weaknesses when contrasted with Bach’s fugues. Its formal defects, however, are balanced by Beethoven’s deft two-part counterpoint–counterpoint superior, in this case, to Bach’s.
Two Preludes through the Major Keys for Piano or Organ, op. 39
Although the Preludes through the Major Keys are the only organ works to which Beethoven assigned an opus number, very little is known of their origin. Beethoven first wrote the preludes in 1789 as exercises in modulation; they were revised for publication in 1803. 
A corrected copy of the preludes is found in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (DDR) in Manuscript Artaria 128. The original autograph is not extant. The manuscript consists of four folios in tall format, on twelve-stave paper. Notation is in ink except for page numbers in pencil in the upper right-hand corners of the odd-numbered pages. At the top of f. 1r in Beethoven’s hand is “1789. Von Ludwig / van Beethoven,” followed by the inscription in a second hand: “Praeludium durch die 12. Dur-Tonarten.” A similar inscription, in the same unknown hand, appears on the third staff of f. 3v at the beginning of the second prelude: “Praeludium durch die 12. Harte Tonarten.” 
The preludes were first published in December 1803.  The title page of the first edition reads: “DEUX / PRÉLUDES / par tous les 12 Tons majeurs / pour le / Fortepiano, ou l’Orgue / composées par / LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN. / Oeuvre 39. / à Leipzig chez Hoffmeister et Kühnel. / (Bureau de Musique.) / Pr. 8gg.” 
The pieces are currently available in the Gesamtausgabe and in a number of collections of piano music. They are also separately published as organ works by Bornemann, the Oesterreichischer Bundesverlag, Liturgical Music Press, and Hinrichsen. 
Pieces that modulate through many keys were written by a number of composers before Beethoven. The Venetian Antonio Caldara, for example, wrote a Preambulum (as one of his few extant instrumental works) that modulates through many keys.  Pietro Antonio Locatelli wrote a similar piece.  Johann Kaspar Ferdinand Fischer’s Ariadne Musica includes twenty short preludes and fugues in all major and minor keys (including E Phrygian) using key signatures of up to four sharps or flats. A prelude and fugue in B major is also included as an anomaly.  J. S. Bach also experimented with modulation in his Kleines harmonisches Labyrinth, a tripartite composition that follows no regular pattern of modulation and frequently modulates between distant keys.  Georg Andreas Sorge’s Toccata per ogni modi follows the circle of fifths much more closely than the compositions of previous composers. His piece progresses around the sharp side of the circle of fifths and includes major keys and their relative minors. 
Opus 39, no. 1
The first Prelude through the Major Keys consists of a series of modulations around the sharp side of the circle of fifths, based on an opening seven-note motive (fig. 12).
As show in figure 13, the piece traverses the major keys with key signatures of from one to seven sharps.
Fig. 13. Structural analysis of Beethoven's Prelude through the Major Keys, op. 39, no. 1
|9||G major||1 sharp|
|19||D major||2 sharps|
|27||A major||3 sharps|
|30||E major||4 sharps|
|34||B major||5 sharps|
|35||F-sharp major||6 sharps|
|37||C-sharp major||7 sharps|
|56||D-flat major||5 flats|
|68||A-flat major||4 flats|
|74||E-flat major||3 flats|
|84||B-flat major||2 flats|
|89||F major||1 flat|
In measures 37-56 an enharmonic modulation from C-sharp to D-flat major is effected by passing through the keys of C-sharp minor (measure 47) and G major (measure 50). From D-flat major, the modulation continues around the circle of fifths to F major (measure 89). Then follow excursions through D minor and G minor, leading to the home key of C major (measure 102).
The large majority of modulations in the piece use diatonic pivot chords. These pivot chord modulations are of two types. The first appears in measures 27, 30, 35, 37, and 89, where the pivot chord occurs in the measure preceding a change of key signature; in every case the tonic chord in the original key the subdominant in the new key (fig. 14).
The second type appears in measures 9, 19, 34, 68, 74 and 84, where no pivot chord can be identified prior to the change of key signature–the pivot chord occurs on the first beat after the key signature changes (fig. 15).
Of the six remaining modulations, two (at measures 92 and 99) are diatonic pivot chord modulations involving no change of key signature. A third, at measure 47, is a modal mutation of C-sharp major to its parallel minor. At measure 50 all sharps in the key signature except F-sharp are cancelled, and the piece clearly modulates to G major, yet without definitive cadences in the key (fig. 16).
Finally, modulations at measures 56 and 103 are established by secondary dominant (fig. 17).
Opus 39, no. 2
The second Prelude through the Major Keys, though much shorter than the first prelude, traverses the circle of fifths twice. As outlined in figure 18, only major keys are employed; no keys are used out of sequence. In both cases the bridge between the sharp and flat sides of the circle is through enharmonic modulation between C-sharp major and D-flat major.
The opening thematic material is used throughout the prelude (fig. 19).
The first excursion around the circle of fifths requires forty-six measures; the second requires only thirty (fig. 18). The piece (particularly in the second part [measures 46-76]) consequently lacks a feeling of tonal establishment. The first excursion has tonicizations of but one measure each on A, F-sharp, and E-flat; the second likewise has one-measure tonicizations on G, D, A, E, B, F-sharp, A-flat, E-flat, B-flat, and F. The effect is basically that of an ongoing series of secondary dominants.
Pivot-chord modulations are used almost exclusively. In all but three cases the submediant of the first key becomes the supertonic of the succeeding key (fig. 20).
In a second modulatory pattern, found in measures 8 and 15, the tonic of the original key becomes the subdominant of the subsequent key (fig. 21).
A final modulatory technique is used in measures 24-28, where Beethoven first weakens the established key by introducing diminished-seventh chords and then establishes a new key with a succession of secondary dominants (fig. 22).
Beethoven’s preludes compared with Sorge’s Toccata per ogni modi
A comparison of the preludes with Sorge’s Toccata per ogni modi–which is a more effective example of a piece that modulates through many keys–will provide the basis for evaluating the modulatory techniques of the preludes.
As outlined in figure 23, the toccata traverses the circle of fifths once and uses not only major keys, but their relative minors.
Sorge crosses to the flat side of the circle of fifths after reaching the key signature of six sharps–one signature earlier than Beethoven.
The toccata is multithematic. New themes are regularly introduced in measures 1-44. Beginning in measure 45, statements of earlier themes are intermingled with new material. Sorge’s thematic variety quite successfully balances a monotony to which modulating pieces are easily susceptible. Beethoven, on the other hand, emphasizes the lack of variation and tonal establishment in his modulations by employing a single theme throughout each prelude.
The toccata’s modulatory root relationships include ascending and descending minor thirds in addition to the ascending perfect fifths that dominate the preludes. All twenty-four modulations use diatonic pivot chords (fig. 24).
|type of modulation||pivot chord||frequency|
|1.||minor to relative major||i/vi||5|
|2.||major to dominant major||vi/ii||1|
|3.||major to relative minor||vii°/ii°||3|
|4.||minor to dominant minor||i/iv||6|
The six modulations between a minor key and its dominant minor all employ the same pivot chord (i/iv). The other three types of modulations use nine pivot chords. Variety of modulation, resulting from the larger number of root relationships and pivot chords, is an important factor contributing to the effectiveness of Sorge’s toccata.
One hundred and twenty measures in length, the toccata is shorter than the first prelude, but longer than the second. The longer measures that result from the toccata’s shorter note values nevertheless make it seem longer than both preludes. Sorge’s modulations are more widely separated than Beethoven’s, and new keys are more convincingly established.
The Fugue in D Major (WoO 31), composed while Beethoven was studying Bach’s Wohltemperiertes Clavier, compares favorably with similar works in two-part counterpoint, particularly with Bach’s Fugue in E Minor (BWV 855). The Preludes through the Major Keys, op. 39, on the other hand, lack the technical skill exhibited by Sorge in his Toccata per ogni modi.
These three earliest organ works cannot be included among Beethoven’s most successful compositions. Indeed, their musical value may only occasionally warrant their inclusion in a recital program. But they are important as first steps toward Beethoven’s mature musical style.
 Ludwig van Beethoven, Werke, 25 vols. (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1862-88; reprint ed., Ann Arbor: Edwards, 1949) , series 25, no. 309; series 18, no. 184.
 Gustav Nottebohm, Beethoven’s Studien: Beethoven’s Unterricht bei J. Haydn, Albrechtsberger und Salieri (Leipzig und Winterthur: J. Rieter-Biedermann, 1873; reprint ed., Wiesbaden: Sändig, 1971), p. 10.
 Elliot Forbes, ed., Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, rev. ed., 2 vols. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967), 1:68 (hereafter cited as Thayer-Forbes).
 Georg Kinsky, Das Werk Beethovens: Thematisch-bibliographisches
Verzeichnis seiner sämtlichen vollendeten Kompositionen, ed. Hans Halm (Munich: G. Henle, 1955) , p. 472 (hereafter cited as Kinsky-Halm).
 Ibid., p. 472, lists the owner as the Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek. Ludwig Altman, in the foreword to Beethoven Orgelwerke (London: Hinrichsen, 1962), states that the manuscript is in Marburg.
 A microfilm is in the author’s possession.
 Berlin, Staatsbibliothek der Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, MS Artaria 124, ff. 1-2.
 Ludwig van Beethoven, Organ Works, Masterpieces of Organ Music, supplement (New York: Liturgical Music Press , 1947; Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Theodore Presser, n.d.) ; Altman, pp. 27-28.
 While studying with Albrechtsberger, Beethoven still tended to modulate to the subdominant too early. Alan Edgar Frederic Dickinson, “Beethoven’s Early Fugal Style,” Musical Times 96 (February 1955): 76.
 Johann Sebastian Bach, Werke, 47 vols. (Leipzig: Bach-Gesellschaft, 1851-99, 1926; reprint ed., Ann Arbor: Edwards, 1947), 14:40-41.
 Kinsky-Halm, p. 96.
 Eveline Bartlitz, comp., Die Beethoven Sammlung in der Musikabteilung der Staatsbibliothek: Verzeichnis; Autographe, Abschriften, Dokumente, Briefe (Berlin: Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, 1970), p. 15.
 A letter from Beethoven to the publisher regarding publication of the preludes appears in Anderson, 1:97-98.
 Kinsky-Halm, p. 96.
 Ludwig van Beethoven, Préludes circulaire, op. 39, nos. 1-2, ed. Marcel Dupré, Anthologie des maîtres classiques de l’orgue, nos. 4-5 (Paris: Bornemann, 1942; id., Two Preludes in All Major Keys, op. 39 (Vienna: Oesterreichischer Bundesverlag, n.d.); id., Organ Works, Masterpieces of Organ Music, supplement; Altman, pp. 16-26. Further editions are listed elsewhere on this site.
 Recorded with Johann Kaspar Ferdinand Fischer, Ariadne Musica, with Other Preludes and Fugues in All Keys, performed by Franz Haselböck, organ (Musical Heritage Society MHS 1634), side 2, band 5. Harry Halbreich, in his annotations to the recording, gives no source for the Preambulum. Perhaps it is part of the MS entitled “Proba organistica,” owned by the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (DDR). See Bernhard Paumgartner, “Antonio Caldara,” Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 2 (1952): 648.
 Reference to such a work by Locatelli is made by Ludwig Altman in “2 Preludes through the Major Keys for [Piano or] Organ, Opus 39,” in The Beethoven Companion, ed. Thomas K. Scherman and Louis Biancolli (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972), pp. 49-50; and in the foreword to Orgelwerke. Neither source gives any particulars about the work, but perhaps the second caprice (“Il labirinto armonico”) to the twelfth concerto of L’arte del violino, op. 3, is the piece intended (Pietro Antonio Locatelli, L’arte del violino: 25 capricci, ed. Romeo Franzoni [Milan: Ricordi, 1920], pp. 62-69). See also Arend Koole, “Pietro Antonio Locatelli,” Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 8 (1960): 1078.
 Johann Kaspar Ferdinand Fischer, Ariadne Musica, in Liber Organi, 11 vols. (Mainz: Schott, 1931-66), vol. 7: Deutsche Meister des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, II, ed. Ernst Kaller, pp. 4-35. The preludes-fugues are in the following keys respectively: C major, C-sharp minor, D minor, D major, E-flat major, E Phrygian, E minor, E major, F minor, F major, F-sharp minor, G minor, G major, A-flat major, A minor, A major, B-flat major, B minor, B major, and C minor.
 Bach, 38:225-26.
 Georg Andreas Sorge, “Toccata per ogni modi,” in Spielbuch für Kleinorgel, ed. Wolfgang Auler, 2 vols. (New York: C. F. Peters, 1951), 2:62-69.
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