Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

Tuesday, April 18

Beethover (sic) and Punto

Synopsis

The month of April in the year 1800 was an especially busy one for Ludwig van Beethoven. On the second of April at his first big orchestral concert in Vienna, Beethoven had premiered his First Symphony, a new Piano Concerto, and his Septet for winds. He had been planning for this concert all winter, and there was a lot of music to be worked up and written down for that occasion.

On today's date that same month, Beethoven appeared in Vienna once again, this time as piano accompanist for the popular Bohemian horn virtuoso, Johann Wenzel Stich, who went by the more marketable Italian "stage name" of Giovanni Punto.
The pre-concert announcements for the Punto recital promised that Beethoven would contribute a new work for the occasion—but, apparently preoccupied by his OWN concert, Beethoven didn't get around to writing the promised piece until the day before the recital!

Beethoven and Punto took the new Horn Sonata with them for a concert in Budapest the following month. The press in Hungary had heard of Punto, but not Beethoven, whose name they didn't even get right: "Who is this Bethover (sic)." One press notice read: "The history of German music is not acquainted with such a name. Punto, of course, is VERY well known…"

Music Played in Today's Program

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) Horn Sonata in F, Op. 17 Hermann Baumann, horn; Leonard Hokanson, piano Philips 416 816

Additional Information

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