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This is a single disc with a playing time of 86 minutes, comprising sketches, miniatures, transcriptions and arrangements. It begins, though, with the Dittersdorf Variations WOO66, heard in a charming performance. Nice also to have the Dressler Variations.

Some of these pieces are almost over before they begin, such as the delightful 23-second Pastorella. The British Library’s Kafka Miscellany furnishes six miniatures from sketchbooks. The Canonic Sketches are tiny, but even tinier is the snippet of an Allegro in C major. Half-formed ideas from Beethoven’s mind, a window into his creative process; and how lovely to have Beethoven’s transcription of a canon by Mattheson, played with elegant delicacy by Gallo.

A number of scholars have a hand here, while Diabelli completed the idea for the String Quintet WOO62, ostensibly Beethoven’s ‘last musical idea’. The final track, a ‘composition’ in D major, is a 22-minute ‘sonata’ fleshed out by Kerman; parts are fragmentary in the extreme.

A necessary consequence of Beethoven year, completists will hoover this one up. Even the tiniest morsel from Beethoven’s table tastes good.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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