Gratulations-Menuett in E-Flat Major for Orchestra

In Beethoven’s later years, he turned more often to writing shorter works. While he did of course produce notable large compositions (the Ninth Symphony and the last quartets), he also wrote a spate of concise, far less well-known ones, including many of his 43 canons, the Waltz in e-flat, Woо 84, Waltz in D, Woо 85, the Еcossaise, Woо 86, and many others. Whatever his reasons for his concision, he remained a master in whatever realm he chose to work. Тhis piece, the so-called WELCOME MENUET (Gratulations-Menuett), was written to pay tribute to a friend of the composer’s, dramatist Carl Friedrich Hensler. Hensler was director of the Josephstadt Theater, where, on November 3rd, 1822, that very work, along with readings and other musical compositions, was performed in his honor.

Oddly, this minuet looks back to Beethoven’s earlier forays in the genre. It is unlike the more advanced ones appearing in the symphonies, quartets and sonatas. The attractive and elegant first section is repeated, but in different, somewhat humorous instrumentation (in the manner of the bassoon’s burp- like accompaniment). there follows a trio in which Beethoven displays some colorful compositions for the winds. The recapitulation of the main theme ensues, and the work ends.

The Gratulations-Menuett was published in 1832 and carries a dedication by the publisher to Karl Holz.

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