Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kinderman, William. "Bachian Affinities in Beethoven." Bach Perspectives 3 (1998): 81-108.

Beethoven was first influenced by Bach during his Bonn years, and that influence grew and became more profound in his late works. In several instances a specific piece by Bach is intimated as Beethoven's model, yet that influence rarely amounts to straightforward borrowing. For instance, the C minor episode in the finale of Beethoven's "Grande Sonate" in E flat Major, Op. 7 recalls Bach's Prelude in C minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I. This stylistic allusion, which involves a relentless ostinato that stresses turn figures, is incorporated by Beethoven as a dramatic element. The finale of Beethoven's Piano Sonata in F Major, Op. 54, refers to Bach's Fugue in E Minor from WTC I. Both sonatas evoke the toccata-like idiom of the Bach works, yet the model is transformed by Beethoven and assimilated into his dramatic framework. Beethoven's Diabelli Variations (notably Nos. 29 and 31) include textural and melodic resemblances to Bach's Goldberg Variations, and are best construed as an homage to Bach.

Works: Beethoven: "Grande Sonate" in E flat Major, Op. 7 (85-87), Cello Sonata in A Major, Op. 69 (88), Piano Sonata in A flat Major, Op. 110 (88, 97), Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (101-3).

Sources: Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, Prelude in C Minor (85-87), "Es ist vollbracht" from St. John Passion (88), Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, Prelude in E flat Minor (97, 101), Goldberg Variations (101-3).

Index Classifications: 1700s, 1800s

Contributed by: Tamara Balter

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