Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770] – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers.
I guess everybody knows all about him...
So, what's a "bagatelle" anyway?
According to Wikipedia, a "bagatelle" is a short piece of music, typically for the piano, and usually of a light, mellow character. The name bagatelle literally means "a short unpretentious instrumental composition".
The best-known bagatelles are probably those by Ludwig van Beethoven, who published three sets, Opp. 33, 119 and 126, and wrote a number of similar works that were unpublished in his lifetime including the piece that is popularly known as "Für Elise".
Somehow, I always thought a bagatelle was like a fancy pinball machine. You know, something like: The Battle of Atlantis (all with bikini-clad mermaids on the table), the new deluxe, arcade pinball machine, brought to you by the Bagatelle Company, Wabash, Indiana - or something like that.
Well, THIS "bagatelle" is unpretentious and charming. The Op.119 set was probably written before 1823, but the exact date is not known.
The sweet transcription was done by William Thomas Best (13 August 1826 – 10 May 1897). He was the leading organ virtuoso of his day, and was proclaimed by Franz Liszt to be THE greatest virtuoso on ANY instrument. Best is said to have had a repertoire of over 10,000 pieces, and he used them all in the MANY recitals he played at St. George's Hall, Liverpool.
This little gem sets forth three "technical challenges":
1) playing on two manuals with one hand
2) getting sharp "swell pedal accents"
3) expression pedals moving in opposite directions
The dark diapasons and reeds on Hereford are a nice fit, and I enjoyed playing this very much.
The score is attached below, as well as some young photos of Beethoven, and one of William T. Best.