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Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5: First Edition Score

By Jesse Bobbitt, Maddie Mascia, and Hannah Reinschmidt

Title Page and Two Excerpts

Front cover of piano score of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5:

Example 1:

Example 2:

The Score

The piece is scored for: piano, violins 1 and 2, viola, cello and bass, flutes 1 and 2, oboes 1 and 2, clarinets 1 and 2, trumpets 1 and 2, bassoons 1 and 2, horns 1 and 2, and timpani. 

The first edition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 was published in Leipzig at the house of Breitkopf and Härtel and was priced at 4 Reichstaler. Breitkopf and Härtel used many different methods of printing music, including type, lithographic stones, and the favored engraved plates. With engraving, the musical notation was etched into plates using tools. Noteheads, stems, and tempo markings were written freehand during the early development of engraving, which caused some noticeable inconsistencies. The outline of an engraving plate can be seen on almost every page of the score. 

There are a few other characteristics reflective of the use of engraving plates: the number 1613 at the bottom of each page containing the plate number identifying the edition, an ovular indentation at the bottom of each page containing the letters B and H (for Breitkopf and Härtel), and sporadic lines of black ink on a few of the pages that occurred through either a crack or stray ink on the plate. These stray marks of black ink can be found on pages 5, 49, 58, and 66 of the document and two examples are pictured to the left:

Provenance

The Riemenschneider Bach Institute has obtained many of its archives from the Emmy Martin Collection, including numerous first edition scores. Among these is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5.