Listening to Beethoven #77 – Canon in G major

Plaster casts of Ludwig van Beethoven’s seals, probably made in the Beethoven House in Bonn © Beethoven-Haus Bonn

Canon in G major Hess 247 for three voices (1795, Beethoven aged 24)

Dedication not known
Duration 1’10”


Background and Critical Reception

The canons are a fascinating but very little-known part of Beethoven’s output – and they reveal plenty about him as a composer. Many of them are short pieces but often with a particular friend or person in mind, and often shot through with humour and witty musical play.

The first example we hear is for three ‘voices’ – as in, three distinct instrumental voices.


This short piece has an attractive lilt in triple time, rather like a Minuet – and . Beethoven repeats his idea several times, and it is catchy enough to have worked its way into your head by the end of its 70-second stay.

Recording used and Spotify link

Benjamin Lichtenegger, Lara Kusztrich, Luka Kusztrich (violins) (Naxos)

An attractively performed version.

You can chart the Arcana Beethoven playlist as it grows, with one recommended version of each piece we listen to. Catch up here!

Also written in 1795 Salieri Il mondo alla rovescia

Next up 6 Minuets WoO 10 (orchestral version)

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