At first glance, this spirited work does not seem to fit the picture that Beethoven’s contemporaries have passed down to us; this is why the work was long looked upon deprecatingly as a “salon piece”. In fact, it is an “occasional” piece in the best sense of the word, having been written in winter 1814/15 for the Russian Czar Alexander I’s wife, a great admirer of Beethoven’s music. The Czarina was sojourning in the Austrian capital at the time of the Congress of Vienna. The superficial impression of simple, stylized dance music disguises Beethoven at his most “genuine”, waiting to reveal some subtle motivic and thematic material.