Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Ringer, Alexander L. "Clementi and the Eroica." The Musical Quarterly 47 (October 1961): 454-68.

The theme of Beethoven's Contredanse in Eb Major, upon which the finale of the symphony is based and which is also present in Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus and the Piano Variations, Op. 35, has its ultimate source in the opening phrase of Clementi's Piano Sonata in G Minor, Op. 7, No. 3 (a work Beethoven probably knew in his Bonn days). Ringer also discerns the presence of the idea in the Septet, Op. 20 and in Christus am Ölberg. Clementi himself used the theme again in the finale of his Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 14, No. 3. The influence of other sonatas by Clementi upon Beethoven is also noted. Elements of Clementi's G Minor Sonata (not just the opening phrase) are evident throughout the Eroica as a result of Beethoven's use of his own contredanse as a "reference theme." (The use of a reference theme, here a Russian theme, is also evident throughout the String Quartet Op. 59, No. 1.) The Prometheus music, the Variations, Op. 35, and the Eroica are viewed as "three successive responses to the same 'underlying idea,' each conceived in terms of a different 'poetic idea.'"

Works: Beethoven: Eroica (454), The Creatures of Prometheus (454), Piano Variations, Op. 35 (454), Septet, Op. 20 (460), Christus am Olberg (460), String Quartet Op. 59, No. 1 (464).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: David C. Birchler

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