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For a long time it was assumed that Beethoven reworked seven older pieces for his op. 33, published in 1803. But in the meantime it has been determined that all the surviving sketches came into being in 1801/02, and that the autograph dates from 1802. The fact that the composer wrote such bagatelles for amateurs in temporal proximity to the demanding Piano Sonatas op. 31 may at first glance be unsettling. But the pieces, in simple dance and song forms, display remarkable refinement. The collection, which already appeared in innumerable editions during Beethoven’s lifetime, enjoys great popularity to the present day, not least because – apart from the technically more demanding no. 5 – all the pieces are of medium difficulty, and thus are also accessible to proficient amateurs. For the new Henle Urtext edition, Beethoven expert Joanna Cobb-Biermann provides music and textual commentary incorporating the current state of research.

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